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Expelled HS student facing harsher molestation charges because she's gay, family says

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Updated: 5/21/2013 9:21 am
SEBASTIAN, Fla. -- Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, feels at home at Sebastian River High School, cheering for the team.

The senior, dubbed "Most Spirited" at Sebastian River High School, has to sit on the sidelines now.

Hunt's entire world was turned upside down after she was charged with molesting a classmate, who's a minor, and was promptly expelled from school.

Julia Gilmore said she has been friends with Hunt for five years.

"It ruined her whole year. I feel really bad for her," Gilmore said.

According to reports, Hunt and another girl had been seeing each other since late last year.

Hunt can't talk about the case, but her parents are. They've taken to change.org for a petition for the state attorney's office to drop the charges.

Kelly Hunt-Smith, Hunt's mom, said anyone with common sense or heart would look at the situation for what it is.

"The reality is, it's two high school girls that were in a consensual, mutual dating relationship," Hunt-Smith said.

The relationship began when both girls were minors.

Hunt's mother said she knew about it, but didn't know the relationship had become physical.

She said she didn't think anything when Hunt celebrated her 18th birthday.

"It never once crossed my mind it would be illegal. I don't think any parent thinks about that when their kids in high school when she's dating a classmate," Hunt-Smith said.

The other girl's parents did, which led to the charges.

Hunt is facing two felony charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor, and could be labeled a sex offender for the rest of her life, ruining her career goals.

"She was in the nursing program at school, she wanted to be a pediatric nurse. Those (goals) would be gone," Hunt-Smith said.

Parents who said they don't agree with the age difference think the case has still gone too far.

"I don't think that it's right that she should be labeled a sex offender, but I understand the 15-year-old mom's point of view," said high school parent Terri Lamb.

Hunt's parents believe their daughter is being singled out because she's in a lesbian relationship.

"I could ramble off 10, 20 other relationship(s) right now at the same high school that are freshman and senior; 14 and 18; and they're not being prosecuted," Hunt-Smith said.

The Romeo and Juliet law, established in 2007, could have made it harder to charge Hunt, since the law was made to deal with minors in relationships. However, that law does not apply to homosexual relationships.

Hunt has until Friday to accept the state's plea bargain, but her parents say it would still label her as a sex offender.

VIDEO: WFTV Orlando
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