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High school girl faces felony charges for gay relationship

When an adult is accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage teenager, the consequences under the law are severe. But what if the defendant is also a teenager, only slightly older than the alleged victim? What if both the accused and the alleged victim are female? These are issues that have arisen in the case of an 18-year-old Florida high school student and a younger girl, also in high school, with whom she allegedly had a sexual relationship. The 18-year-old now faces felony charges arising out of the relationship.

The defendant's parents have collected over 56,000 signatures on a petition to have the charges dismissed. They argue that it is wrong for their daughter to face such serious charges under these circumstances. They point out that their daughter was 17 when the relationship began, and that the parents of the younger girl are pressing charges because they can't accept that their daughter may be gay.

Prosecutors have not been swayed by the public support for the defendant. They claim it is a case of a vulnerable younger person being victimized by an older one. The best they can offer is a plea agreement that would require the girl to serve two years of house arrest followed by a year of probation.

Unfortunately for the young woman in this case, the law draws bright lines in this area, and a conviction can carry serious penalties, including a prison sentence. Those who are facing allegations of sexual misconduct should seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney, who can help make the decision whether to accept the offer of a plea agreement or go to trial.

Source: Broward Palm Beach New Times, Kaitlyn Hunt's Charges Will Not Be Dropped, Florida State Attorney Says, Chris Joseph, May 21, 2013

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