An 18-year-old high school senior from Sebastian has had her entire world flipped upside down – all because she was involved in a same-sex relationship with a 15-year-old.
On Feb. 16, the 18-year-old was arrested for having a physical relationship with a younger student at her school.
Under Florida law, the teen could face up to 15 years in prison and be forced to register as a sex offender.
However, a plea deal has apparently been offered that would give the teen two years’ house arrest and one year of probation.
The girls were on the basketball team together at their high school. They began dating after the accused turned 18, and allegedly had a sexual relationship.
Once the basketball coach discovered their relationship, the 18-year-old was thrown off the team, expelled from school and the 15-year-old girl’s parents were notified.
The parents of the 15-year-old called police, who then apparently recorded a phone call conversation between the two girls where they discussed their relationship.
The teen has been charged with two counts of felony lewd and lascivious battery on a child ages 12 to 16.
This teen’s arrest has sparked up a lot of controversy. In fact, many people are outraged that the teen was arrested and charged with a sex crime, and in response have created a petition to create awareness regarding her treatment by the Indian River County State Attorney’s Office. The petition, “Free Kate,” at Change.org has already generated more than 140,000 signatures.
Florida law states that engaging in sexual activity with a minor between the ages of 12 and 16 is a felony. This law does not make an exception for minors that consent to a sexual relationship, so the teen in this case could potentially face up to 15 years in prison and be labeled a sex offender if she is convicted. However, Florida has what is called “Romeo & Juliet” laws set in place to reduce the penalties for consenting minors within a certain age of each other.
Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” laws are not gender-specific, despite the fact that the name implies a male-female relationship. This law protects consenting minors who are within four years of age of each other as long as the youngest partner is at least 14 years old. Now here is where Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” laws get tricky; even though the accused in this case is within the four year age bracket from her girlfriend, this law will only allow her to petition for her name to be removed from the sex offender registry if she is convicted. The law does nothing to prevent the felony punishment from being enforced. Sadly, even if the teen accepts the plea bargain that has been offered, she would be spending the next two years of her young life under house arrest.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a sex crime in Florida, don’t face these charges alone. A Florida Sex Crimes Attorney at Whittel & Melton can assist you with your charges and point you in the right direction. We can aggressively negotiate and fight for your rights, so contact us today online or call us statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529.
This firm was extremely helpful and courteous to deal with. I did not expect to need their services, but was fortunate to find such a great firm. Thank you for your services. Emily Stafford
Send us an email using the form below.
Boca Raton Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
3700 Airport Rd., Suite 401
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Naples Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
2390 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 102
Naples, FL 34103
Tampa/St. Petersburg Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
200 Central Ave., Suite 400
Tampa, FL 33629
Spring Hill Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
11020 Northcliffe Blvd
Spring Hill, FL 34608
Gainesville Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
2441 NW 43rd Street
Gainesville, FL 32606
Toll Free Florida Statewide:Whittel & Melton, LLC
The information on this Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys & Lawyers / Law Firm website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.