“Our client is a courageous teenager who is choosing not to accept the current plea offer by the State of Florida,” the statement reads. “Our client is a model citizen. She has been placed in an environment of school with her classmates where they go to school together, have lunch together, and play on the same team and are allowed to have communication and contact without barriers. Then when something develops between the two as a result of this environment created by the State, it leads to criminal prosecution.”
Hunt, 18, has been charged with “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 – 16 years of age” for engaging in a sexual relationship with her 14-year-old high school classmate. The plea deal offered was felony child abuse, requiring two years of community control, plus one more year of probation.
Graves said at press conference on Wednesday that she didn’t believe the plea deal was acceptable because those charges would follow Hunt throughout her life, possibly denying her many opportunities from going to college to becoming a nurse. She added that this is a case that should never have ended up in the criminal justice system to begin with.
“This is better addressed by school officials and parents not the criminal justice system. We do not need to turn teenagers into convicted felons,” she said at the conference.
Today’s statement goes on to say: “If this incident occurred 108 days earlier when she was 17, we wouldn’t even be here. Right now this is the biggest thing in her life. We are going to stand behind her. Her family and friends are going to stand behind her. This is not logical. The State is willing to take this teenager’s life away over 108 days.”