Anonymous Hackers Seek Justice for Teen Charged With Underage Same-Sex Relationship
Florida teen Kaitlyn Hunt was arrested and charged with “lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12 to 16 years” earlier this year, prompting controversy over her same-sex relationship. Hunt, who is 18, had been dating a 15-year-old girl she met through sports and classes at school. Her parents say her girlfriend’s family alerted the police because they disapproved of their same-sex relationship and believed Hunt "made" their daughter gay. They maintain that the relationship was entirely consensual, and that the age gap is common among teen couples.
Hunt, a cheerleader voted to have the “most school spirit,” was expelled from Sebastian RIver High School in Florida, where she was a senior, even though a judge decided she could stay. Her basketball coach also kicked her off the team to avoid “drama.” Now, a branch of Anonymous hackers called “Operation Justice” have targeted the Indian River County State Attorney's Office, as well as Sebastian RIver High School in Florida, for what they have labeled “intolerance.” Many LGBT and Civil Liberties advocates have pointed out that relationships among teens with similar age gaps are rarely prosecuted when they involve an older male and younger female.
“Greetings, Bigots. We are Operation Justice,” Anonymous hackers wrote in their public letter to the Indian River State Attorney’s Office, “The last operation our team conducted led to the case of Rehtaeh Parson's being re-opened and to an independent investigation into the actions of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. You may have read about us. Now we are in Florida and you should have expected us."
Rehtaeh Parsons was the 17-year-old Canadian girl who killed herself after she was allegedly sexually assaulted in 2011, and bullied when photos of the attack were posted online. Police had concluded that there were no grounds to charge anyone in the case.
“While in the course of performing your duties we feel that you've lost perspective,” the hackers wrote, “Tsk, tsk.”
"The truth is, Kaitlyn Hunt is a bright young girl who was involved in a consensual, same-sex relationship while both she and her partner were minors. She has a big future ahead of her and there are people, thousands of people in fact, that have no intention of allowing you to ruin it with your rotten selective enforcement."
Hunt has until Friday to accept a plea deal that would allow her to avoid registering as a sex offender, but State Attorney Bruce Colton said he would still recommend two years of house arrest followed by one year probation if she takes it. The Hunt family has said they will only accept the deal if charges are reduced to a misdemeanor. It is possible that, if found guilty, she may be able to avoid sex offender registry under a "Romeo and Juliet" law because the two girls were not more than four years apart in age.
Anonymous said it will give prosecutors “a few days” before launching a petition of 20,000 signatures for resignations of named officials, as well as protests.