SEBASTIAN, Fla. - A high school senior arrested on charges of having a sexual relationship with her underage female classmate said she will not accept a plea deal and will fight the charges.
Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, could be labeled a sex offender for the rest of her life for a relationship the two girls said was consensual.
Hunt said the sexual relationship started when both girls were minors, but her girlfriend's parents said Hunt was 18 and their daughter was 14, which is illegal in Florida.
They also said they warned Hunt at least two times to stay away from their daughter, and then they called police.
"She didn't stop, then we had no alternative but to turn to the law and use it, basically, as a last resort," said the alleged victim's father, Jim Smith.
Hunt-Smith, Kaitlyn's mother, said they never spoke to her or her husband.
"I wish to God they would have come to us once," Hunt-Smith said.
The Smiths said they are fighting an online war with people who call them homophobic.
The Smiths said the situation is about their daughter's age, not sexual orientation.
Hunt's parents started an online petition on Change.org to keep their daughter out of jail. It has gained more than 150,000 supporters.
WFTV reporter Renee Stoll was at the press conference earlier this week to hear Hunt's side of the story.
Hunt may be facing some serious charges, but it was clear the 18-year-old is still a high-schooler when she broke down and clung to her parents while trying to talk about what she was going through.
"I'm scared of losing my life, the rest of my life, not being able to go to college and be around kids, my sisters and my family," Hunt said.
The state offered a plea deal in the case, but Hunt decided to not accept it and fight the case. If convicted, she could wind up being labeled a sex offender for the rest of her life.
Hunt's decision could mean a jury will decide if she is guilty.
The plea deal included felony charges, and Hunt would have had to go to sex offender counseling groups.
Hunt's attorney said many teens in Hunt's situation have had their charges dropped to misdemeanors.
"For someone who's an honor student, a cheerleader, played varsity basketball, never been in trouble, it just seems really inappropriate to push the felony charges," attorney Julia Graves said.
Hunt-Smith said the situation is nothing she would hope for anyone else.
"Thank you from a mother's heart, thank you for standing up for Kaitlyn," Hunt-Smith said.
Hunt said she is scared, and hopeful for the best situation.
"I'm just thankful and grateful that all these people are by my side," Hunt said.
If the case does go to trial, there are still obstacles facing the state, one of which is getting the 15-year-old alleged victim to testify in court.
WFTV reached out to state attorney Bruce Colton about the case, but have not received a reply.
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