Will Kaitlyn Hunt’s Case Change Statutory Rape Laws?
Kaitlyn Hunt, the 18-year-old arrested for dating her 14-year-old female classmate, made headlines when she was charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a child. If convicted, the honors student and sports star faces 15 years in prison and a lifetime as a registered sex offender. Many are calling this punishment far too harsh for two girls who were in a consenting relationship, one that had its beginnings before Kaitlyn’s eighteenth birthday. Republican senator Thad Altman agrees with that claim and hopes to get the law changed to protect girls like Kaitlyn in the future, a local Palm Beach station reports.
As it stands, Florida law prohibits an 18-year-old from having a sexual relationship with someone younger than 16, even if they go to the same school. Altman wants judges to have the flexibility to use their judgment in cases like Kaitlin, so that they can take into account proximity (e.g. if they’re classmates), the nature of their relationship and other mitigating factors.
Do these kinds of statutory rape laws need to change?