Saturday, April 21, 2018
News Roundup

Student, 18, accused of child abuse rejects plea deal in sex case

An 18-year-old high school senior, accused of having sex with her then-14-year-old girlfriend, has rejected a plea deal that could have kept her off Florida's sex-offender registry.

Kaitlyn Hunt of Indian River County is charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 to 16 years old. If convicted, she would be sentenced from probation to 15 years in prison and registered as a sex offender.

State Attorney Bruce Colton said earlier this week that Hunt had until Friday to accept the offer made a month ago.

Hunt would have pleaded guilty to third-degree felony child abuse, facing up to five years in prison and not having to register as a sex offender, Colton said.

"The State Attorney's Office tendered an extremely lenient plea offer in this case which would have ensured that the defendant avoided any term of incarceration and the stigma of being labeled a sex offender," Colton said Friday in a news release. "In fact, in all probability, the defendant would have avoided being a convicted felon."

Hunt's attorneys, A. Julia and Joseph H. Graves, also issued a statement Friday saying why Hunt wouldn't accept the plea deal.

"Our client is a courageous teenager who is choosing not to accept the current plea offer by the State of Florida," the Graves said.

Colton said the case is scheduled to go to trial in mid-July.

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