Woman claims she was kicked out of addiction program because of sexual orientation


The State Attorney’s Office provided Channel 9 with a statement Thursday, which reads in part:

“The state successfully argued that early termination could not be considered until resolving the alleged probation violation. Judge Souto then heard testimony from multiple witnesses, reviewed materials gathered from Teen Challenge, and then ruled that HEVIA had violated the conditions of her probation. However, HEVIA was afforded the opportunity by both the state and court to continue her probation and complete drug treatment at another facility. HEVIA refused, stating she would prefer to end her probation by serving time in jail.”

Original story:

Kaylin Hevia is beginning a 120-day stint in Seminole County Jail after the judge said she violated her probation by getting kicked out of the adult and teen challenge program.


She told Channel 9 from jail on Tuesday that she believes it’s because she is gay.

“They were not accepting of my sexuality,” Hevia said. “So that in and of itself, and the fact that I am sitting in jail not because I broke the law, I feel that it is like violating some type of right that I don’t have. (But) I should have because it’s just crazy to me.”

Hevia did the Christian-based drug addiction program as part of a plea deal after she was arrested. Months into it, she said she kissed another female in the program.

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As soon as staff found out, she was kicked out.

In a hearing on April 6, the pastor and another employee said she was removed for touching, which is against the rules.

The paperwork said she was removed for “an ongoing inappropriate relationship.” But in the rules provided to Channel 9 by Hevia’s attorney, it does not specifically address that violation.

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Those in the program cannot touch each other without permission.

Hevia’s attorney said there was no indication this was a nonconsensual kiss.

The pastor said during the hearing that women are told that touching isn’t allowed. Hevia said she was not told about that.

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Her attorney questioned the pastor during that hearing, asking if the program accepts gay people.

“The reality is we work with people with life-controlling problems,” the pastor said. “It doesn’t matter whether they’re homosexuals, gay, drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes — those are the type of people we work with.”

When pressed on if the program accepts gay people, the pastor said, “”We accept them with the understanding that they’re not going to push their agenda, that they’re coming for help, not to push their agenda to want to get a relationship.”

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Hevia said that comment raised some of the biggest concerns.

“I believe that what happened to Ms. Hevia is an injustice, and I believe it is not just an injustice to her personally, although it is, it’s an injustice to the entire LGBTQ+ community,” her attorney Natasa Ghica said.

Hevia said the staff gave her identity literature while she was there. Her attorney said the other girl involved in the kiss was not kicked out.

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This will lead to an appeal. However, that appeal will take time, and she will likely have served her time before the appeal is heard.

The pastor declined to comment to Channel 9.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.