Kaitlyn Hunt

A high school student faces years in jail after the family of her 15-year-old girlfriend waited until she turned 18 to charge her with the sexual abuse of a child.

Kaitlyn Hunt was 17 when she began a romance with a then 14-year-old fellow schoolgirl at the Sebastian River High School in Florida.

By all accounts, Hunt’s future was bright. She was an active cheerleader, a basketball player, a camp counsellor and cheering coach, and a medical assistant training to join a nursing program after graduation.

However, as soon as Hunt celebrated her 18th birthday, the younger girl’s parents laid child abuse charges with the police, leading to Hunt’s arrest in February.

She has been charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12 to 16 years old.

The parents also complained to the school, which then threw Hunt off the basketball team and ultimately expelled her in the midst of her final year.

Hunt’s parents have now gone public with the case, insisting that the relationship was an entirely consensual one “between peers”.

They claim the younger girl’s parents are motivated by homophobia and are “out to destroy Kaitlyn’s life”.

Florida Assistant State Attorney Brian Workman has offered the teen an ultimatum. She can either plead guilty to a felony, and spend two years under house arrest, possibly being registered as sex offender for life, or she will have to go to trial and face up to 15 years in jail.

The teenager has until Friday to make a decision.

Hunt’s parents have launched the “Stop the hate, free Kate” campaign, and a petition, signed by almost 160,000 people, has been set up calling for the charges to be dropped against the young woman.

“Our family will do everything we can to stop these people from ruining our daughter’s promising life,” said Hunt’s father, Steven, on the petition page. “This is unjust and unfair – and we need your help to stop it.”

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