Kaitlyn Hunt is an 18 year old high school senior from Florida. She was arrested, once she turned 18, for statutory rape, or what they are calling lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12 to 16 years of age. The police taped a conversation with Kaitlyn and her girlfriend. The relationship occurred, according to Hunt's father, when the two were 14 and 16, but the younger girlfriend's parents waited until Kaitlyn turned 18 and had her arrested. They have offered a plea deal "that would allow her to avoid registering as a sex offender if she pleads guilty to lesser charges of child abuse. State Attorney Bruce Colton said he would recommend two years of house arrest followed by one year probation if she takes the deal."
There is a lot going on in this case. And I'm not sure where I stand on it, except that I know I had two relationships with seniors when I was a freshman in high school. One of those seniors turned 18 while we were dating and my parents could easily have accused him of statutory rape (if they knew we were sexually active, which they didn't, at the time). But they never would have done so. I was in love. They knew that. They knew we were teenagers, even though one of us did turn the "official" age of 18.
I do not think statutory rape laws were put in effect to disallow teenagers from having relationships with each other. They were put in effect to keep young women from being prayed upon by older men. I think of the 21+ year old and the 15 year old.
Or is this just about a young girl's parents being totally freaked out that she's possibly a lesbian? I think so. To go and ruin her "friend's" life without ever even talking to her or the parents seems very strange. An intelligent, caring and mature parent would have asked the Hunt family to come over and discuss the issue and tell Kaitlyn she couldn't see their daughter again until their daughter was 18 or something like that. Now that would make sense.
The whole situation seems very sad to me and I can only hope the Judge who hears this case sees it the same way. See more here.
What do you think? Is this rape? Do 18 year old seniors need to only have intimate relationships with people their age or older? Realistically how often does this happen?