UPDATE: Parents of underage victim in Kate Hunt's case defend actions
By Angela Cruz
SEBASTIAN - [mother name withheld] said it's been a nightmare since her daughter, 18-year-old [name withheld], was arrested on a charge of "lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12 to 16 years old."
"She's scared to death, she can't sleep," said [mother name withheld], from her and [name withheld]'s home on Sunday night.
[mother name withheld] said [name withheld] became friends with an underaged female student at Sebastian River High School at the beginning of the school year.
"They began a dating relationship," [mother name withheld] recalled. "Never in my mind did I consider what that meant."
[name withheld], a former cheerleader and basketball player, was expelled from school after the arrest. [mother name withheld] hopes what she calls the "overwhelming" online support could somehow help get [name withheld]'s charge dropped.
Their family's "Free Kate" Facebook page has more than 14,000 members, and their change.org petition has more than 40,000 signatures.
"I just put our story out there on Friday," said [mother name withheld] "I wanted people to know what was going on. Within thirty minutes, I had so many outpouring support. On Saturday evening, we crashed the change.org website. The president of change.org contacted us personally."
"She is the sweetest girl," [mother name withheld] continued. "I wondered if I was crazy, if it was only because I'm a mom. But I wondered if anyone else thought, like me, that this was wrong and unjust. Apparently, they do."
The family also created an online account to assist with their $50,000 legal fees incurred, according to [mother name withheld].
[mother name withheld] spent all Sunday morning passing out 1,000 "STOP THE HATE, SAVE KATE" green bracelets. She is hoping the attention could help to avoid a trial.
"It's not something I want for my daughter, and it's not something I want for the other girl," said [mother name withheld].
[mother name withheld] said the relationship was consensual. She questions why the parents of [name withheld]'s girlfriend chose to press charges.
The state attorney's office has offered [name withheld] a plea deal, which would include two years of house arrest.
[mother name withheld] doesn't feel [name withheld] deserves the penalty if they don't accept, and they lose her case. She denies her daughter's actions were criminal.
"She would have a lifetime sexual offender on her record," said [mother name withheld] "She would not be able to, we think we all know what that means. It's a death sentence for her, her life would be over at 18."
"[name withheld] would not hurt a fly," said [mother name withheld] "She didn't know what she was doing was quote, unquote 'wrong' or illegal. There was no intent to hurt anybody or commit a crime. I know that's not an excuse for the letter of the law, but it's reality."
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