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Florida prosecutors offer second plea deal in sex crime case

In a rare move, prosecutors have offered a plea deal to a criminal defendant in a sex crime case that will allow the individual to avoid both jail time and registration on the sex offender database.

Admittedly, the case is unique in many ways. The sex crime at issue is a relationship between two Florida high school girls who played on the same basketball team. However, one of the girls was 18 years old when they began dating. Although the older girl’s parents knew of the relationship, the younger girl’s parents turned over a secretly recorded phone conversation between the girls to local authorities. That led to the older girl’s arrest.

Readers may wonder how many high school relationships in Texas and across the country may involve a student that has turned 18 dating a younger classmate. The crime does not seem to be prosecuted very often. A sex crimes attorney might attribute that low enforcement due to the commonly held perception that a consensual relationship among high school classmates does not involve a sex crime or a victim. Yet for some reason, Florida prosecutors decided to bring charges against the older girl in this case.

Since the charges were brought, over 44,000 Facebook users have expressed their support of the older girl, and over 160,000 people have added their signatures to a petition to the assistant state attorney handling the case. That unprecedented showing of public support resulted in prosecutors offering not one, but two plea deals to the girl.

The most recent plea offer is much more favorable than the first, particularly because it would not require the girl to serve jail time or register as a sex offender. Instead, she would serve three years of probation. Her criminal record could also be sealed after that three-year period. The catch is that the girl would have to agree to avoid all future contact with her former girlfriend.

Source: dailymail.co.uk, “Kaitlyn Hunt: Lesbian high school student urged to take plea deal on her 19th birthday after sex charges,” Aug. 15, 2013

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