Dear supporters of “Free Kate”:
It is fair to say that Kate’s family was not prepared for the overwhelming response to this movement. We are having to regroup a bit, and part of that is making sure this page is only supportive of Kate’s cause.
Please, old and new members, read the FAQ below and help us spread accurate information and weed out lies and trolls.
“FREE KATE” FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who is Kate, and why does she need to be freed?
Kate is a high school senior living in Indian River County, FL. Until halfway through the school year, she was a student at Indian River High School, where she had been a cheerleader, a Varsity basketball player, and a medical trainee preparing for a career serving others in the nursing field. Kate was a productive and popular member of her school community and was voted as the student with “most school spirit.”
Kate’s girlfriend was a freshman student enrolled in International Baccalaureate courses with upper-classmen and a fellow player on the Varsity basketball team with Kate. While Kate was 3+ years older than her girlfriend, they were peers in the exact same social circle.
When Kate’s girlfriend’s parents learned of their relationship, they went directly to the police to press charges without sharing their objections with Kate or her family. The police recorded a conversation between Kate and her girlfriend, which led to Kate’s arrest. Kate was arrested and interrogated extensively without a lawyer present.
Kate’s father was a former police officer, so she trusted the police and didn’t feel she had anything to hide. Unfortunately, the police took advantage of her trust in order to get her to make incriminating statements.
Kate was eventually charged with two counts of felony lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12-16. The prosecutor later offered a plea deal of felony child abuse, with two years house arrest followed by one year probation.
Today, the girls are 18 and 15. We will not discuss the specifics of their relationship or when contact took place between them for their legal protection. Kate’s girlfriend has taken no part in her prosecution and denies she is a victim, but the law grants her no rights in this matter.
Kate has offered to permanently cease contact and leave the state if charges are dropped, but that offer has been rejected by the prosecutor and the girlfriend’s parents.
2. Do we think Kate deserves special treatment because she’s a girl in a same sex relationship?
Absolutely not! It is our national shame that states continue to prosecute relationships between consenting students at the same high school. We generally support age-of-consent laws, but we believe it is ludicrous that a 23-year-old can date a 16-year-old, but two students in the same school and on the same basketball team cannot be in a relationship because of arbitrary age limits. The law needs to change, not only to protect Kate, but to protect the millions of teenagers, boys and girls, straight and gay, whose lives are regularly ruined because parents disapprove of their children’s sexual choices.
We want justice for all 18-year-old high school seniors who have undergone criminal prosecution for exercising poor judgement in their dating life. Such students are not predators. They’re just kids.
Likewise, we believe the law should not be arbitrarily enforced based on a parent’s anger. Parents should be empowered to protect their children, but not at the price of destroying another young person’s life forever.
3. What is the point of this Facebook group?
The point of this group is to offer Kate support and to offer Kate’s supporters a place to share and receive accurate information. This is not a forum to debate your views on same-sex relationships or age-of-consent laws.
We believe in free speech, but you have your own Facebook wall for that. Anyone expressing negative views of Kate or our cause will be removed permanently from the group.
Likewise, we ask our supporters to keep a sharp look out for trolls and other negative content. Please do not argue with trolls. Simply tag their posts for an admin and ignore them. Responding to troll posts only bumps them up. If you see any pornographic or other inappropriate imagery, please report it immediately to Facebook and an admin.
4. Should we go after the other family?
NO! Please refrain from posting any personal information about the other people involved in this case. Doing so will only hurt Kate and her cause.
Likewise, we do not want to cause Kate’s former girlfriend any pain or suffering over the actions of her parents. Let’s keep this positive and go through the proper channels. No witch hunts, please.
5. How can members of “Free Kate” help?
First, sign this petition: http://www.change.org/freekate
Second, if you would like to help the family cope with their considerable legal fees, you can do so here: http://www.gofundme.com/2yz5ts
Third, if you’re a resident of Florida, please contact your state legislators and tell them the law needs to protect high school peers from prosecution. Find your state legislators here: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Welcome/index.cfm?CFID=295718277&CFTOKEN=95887900
Even if you’re not a Florida resident, contact your state legislators, anyway. Most states have similarly unjust laws.
Fourth, share this story! Share with everyone! If you know a high school student, make sure he or she knows the law. We don’t want our children going to jail out of ignorance.
Things need to change. We can make that change happen together.
Andrew Kenneth Gay
We ALL are ONE!!! We ALL fight the fight!!