By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com May 25 2013 1:21 PM ET
Kaitlyn Hunt, the 18-year-old former high school cheerleader and basketball star facing felony charges in Florida for a consensual same-sex relationship with a 14-year-old teammate, Friday rejected a plea deal that would have labeled her a sex offender and placed her under house arrest for two years, reports Salon. Hunt is charged with two felony counts of "lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12-16 years of age."
The Hunt family and their lawyer had asked the court to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor, but the state denied that request. As such, Julia Graves, Hunt's attorney, explained the uncommon decision to take the case to trial in a statement Friday. "This is a situation of two teenagers who happen to be of the same sex involved in a relationship," Graves said in a statement. "If this case involved a boy and girl, there would be no media attention to this case … If this incident occurred 108 days earlier when she was 17, we wouldn’t even be here.”
Meanwhile, Hunt's former girlfriend's parents made their first media appearance Thursday, saying they wanted to correct misinformation and hurtful characterizations of them as homophobic and bigoted. Watch the full interview with the alleged victim's parents with a Florida CBS affiliate here, where the parents say that when their daughter ran away from home after being forbidden to see Hunt, they assumed Hunt had kidnapped their daughter.
"We had actually told Ms. Hunt that this was wrong," the alleged victim's mother told CNN.
"We had no alternative but to turn to the law and use it basically as a last resort," the alleged victim's father said.
County prosecutors, like the alleged victim's parents, deny that Hunt's is being targeted because of her sexual orientation.
"We have had cases in the past where we have had same-sex circumstances, albeit some of the evidence may not have been as intruiging, I guess," Indian River County, Fla. Sheriff Deryl Loar told CNN. "We've also, of course, had 18-year-old males with 14-year-old females."
Watch CNN's report below, which includes excerpts from the phone call provided to police as evidence, where Hunt and her former girlfriend admit to having sex, and having feelings for one another.