Kelli Stapleton: A Year Later (And Still a Coward)

22 09 2014

My original post about Kelli Stapleton, 46, the Michigan mother who tried to kill her then 14-year-old daughter, Issy, has been getting a little more play lately as Stapleton’s trial loomed.

According to People, in the eleventh hour Stapleton took a plea, copping to first degree child abuse rather than moving forward to face the attempted murder trial.

Dr. Phil McGraw interviewed Kelli Stapleton in jail, which aired in two parts on his afternoon talk show last week. In that interview, Stapleton said, appallingly, that “the jail of Benzie County has been a much kinder warden than the jail of autism has been.”   That doesn’t sound anything like remorse to me, ladies and gentlemen.

In a July court appearance, Stapleton deflected responsibility or acknowledgement of her despicable actions by stating she could not recall certain visits or conversations with law enforcement and social workers in the aftermath of September 3rd, as she was suffering the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.  

Though in the Dr. Phil interview Stapleton states that she misses Issy, and she’s “not even worthy to beg for her forgiveness,” she admits that her concerns for her other children do not outweigh her instincts of self-preservation. She tells McGraw that given the opportunity, in a perfect scenario, she would not try to resume contact with or caring for her daughter if released from jail.

Friends of Kelli Stapleton are interviewed for the program, and they describe teenaged Issy as having “a difficult time communicating her wants and her needs,” “agitated easily,” and “impatient.” They allege that at the hands of her child, Stapleton has suffered a traumatic brain injury on three occasions. Their tones are very melodramatic, going so far as to say the child “terrorized” her mother and members of the immediate family lived in fear every moment that Issy could/would kill them.

Of course this whole mess is terrible, but arguably, its been indicated that Kelli Stapleton exacerbated the family’s predicament.

 

upnorthlive_stapleton

 

The response to my other post, published a year ago, has been mixed… with some people so sympathizing with Kelli Stapleton as to attack me. You have the right to voice your opinion as much as I do, but you overlook the actual words I used to frame the reason I wrote about this situation at all. It clearly reads “I can imagine, to a degree,” because of my experience with this community; NOT I understand exactly what Kelli Stapleton’s life and the lives of every other parent of a disabled or autistic child goes through every day of their lives. I was qualifying my perspective, not in any way trying to discount the struggles and sacrifices many of you have had to endure/make.

Furthermore, that is one of the more minute details in my coverage of Kelli Stapleton’s merciless assualt on her daughter. You can think I’m an asshole all you want, but an individual claiming to be the defendent’s sister-in-law wrote to me, and several other online outlets, explaining how my perceptions of Stapleton as a narcissist and a borderline-sociopoath are correct. Laura Kelm commented, “She was and is all about herself. And now she is using the media to dupe people into feeling sympathy where none is deserved. She was not an amazing, involved parent that only had her family’s welfare at heart. And it makes me sick reading comments all over the web from people feeling sorry for her.” [From the research I’ve been able to conduct, Kelm seems legit. The Detroit native, a mother herself, is the step-sister of Matt Stapleton.]

We should be focusing on Issy, and how after her remarkable recovery from the carbon monoxide poisoning she suffered at the hands of her mother, she and her family must cope with an entirely new, challenging dynamic. Kelli is facing life in prison, but even if she were to escape with a lighter sentence than the law calls for (and the public expects), Matt Stapleton has moved forward with divorce and custody proceedings.  She failed to kill herself and her daughter, but she did manage to immeasurably and permanently alter the Stapleton family structure.

 

 

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Kaitlyn Hunt Accepts [Generous] Plea Deal

5 10 2013

Have you guys heard about Kaitlyn Hunt, a Florida high schooler accused of sexual assault? There was significant news and social media coverage of the case in the spring, but surprisingly few people I have encountered are up on the story.
I have been reading about her, and the situation, for the better part of 2013. I waited to post anything regarding the case, in hopes that it would resolve itself before much more damage to the self-esteem and reputations of all involved was tarnished much further.

That sort of came to fruition in the form of a plea deal, which Hunt accepted this week.

Regardless of who you support in this, Kaitlyn Hunt or her girlfriend/the victim, we all have to agree that This. Is. A. Mess.

Stephen Hunt, Kaitlyn Hunt and Kelly Hunt Smith seated in the gallery of an Indian River County courtroom (Photo Credit, Keith Carson for Vero News)

Stephen Hunt, Kaitlyn Hunt and Kelly Hunt Smith seated in the gallery of an Indian River County courtroom
(Photo Credit, Keith Carson for Vero News)

The gist of the saga is Hunt entered into a relationship with a female teammate last year. Both girls were students at Sebastian River High School; Hunt was a senior, the other girl was a freshman… which itself poses a problem with state statutory laws. After a few months of ‘dating,’ the relationship became sexual.

When their basketball coach  became aware of their involvement, he called the younger girl’s parents. Shortly thereafter, in February, the girls’ parents, Laurie and Jim Smith, called the police.  (Though their daughter, who is a minor, has remained unnamed in this epic- Kelley Hunt Smith wasted no time name-dropping her parents on a now defunct Facebook page.)

It has been reported that sexual contact occurred twice in the bathroom at school, and on one occasion at the Hunt home, after the girlfriend ‘ran away from home.’
Hunt was not only kicked off the basketball team when her relationship came to light, but was forced out of Sebastian River HS and enrolled in an alternative school.

Upon her arrest, it was speculated that a conviction for lewd & lascivious battery of a child could land Hunt in prison for 15 years and require her to register as a sex offender.
In 2007, the Florida state senate passed a law, known as the Romeo & Juliet law, that would allow high school age people engaged in a relationship to petition the court for leniency (of sorts), thereby distinguishing them from true child predators.  It was suggested that Hunt could/would appeal for this categorization moving forward to [avoid] trial.

It has also been widely spread, by Hunt supporters, that among the complainants’ (unnamed partner’s parents) reasons for pursuing this case, is they think Hunt coerced their daughter into a same-sex relationship– suggesting that their child is not in fact gay.
There has been an incredible movement to “Free Kate” thanks in part to her family’s vocality online. People protesting that the other girl’s parents were being vindictive because they don’t accept their child’s orientation; that Hunt is being persecuted for being a lesbian; and that Hunt doesn’t deserve to be jailed because “she is just a kid.”

In a segment of ABC’s “20/20,” which aired on October 4, 2013, Laurie Smith admitted that “We’ve had the conversation, and I’m perfectly fine with who she is.” Effectively negating all the allegations of hate the “Free Kate” camp had been spewing.
This statement reiterated what the Smiths shared with WPEC-TV back in May; this whole debacle is NOT a matter of race, orientation or personality, but age. They claim to have warned Kaitlyn to stay away from their daughter on two occasions, because the relationship was “wrong,” before resorting to involving local authorities.

Kaitlyn Hunt, self portrait

Kaitlyn Hunt, undated self portrait.

Hunt, who turned 19 in August, has been jailed for violating a no-contact order. It was discovered that Hunt continued to exchange thousands of text and picture messages with the victim. A judge revoked her bond, and a(nother) plea deal was rescinded.  It has been suggested that Kelley Hunt Smith, Kaitlyn’s mother, was not only aware of continued contact, but herself urged the victim to cover their tracks.

This week, Hunt accepted a plea deal in which she pleaded ‘no contest’ to two counts of misdemeanor battery, misdemeanor contributing to the dependency of a child and two counts of felony interference with child custody.
Prosecutor Brian Workman stated that, per the agreement, Hunt “will be sentenced to four months in jail, to be followed by two years of house arrest with electronic monitoring, and nine months of monitored probation after that.”

She will not have to register as a sex offender, and has the option of petitioning for her case file to be sealed and/or expunged after 10 years. However, Workman added that “If she violates the terms of her supervision, the judge may sentence her to any lawful sentence, including prison.”

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My issues with this case and all the debate it’s sparked:

– An 18 year old and a 14 year old, regardless of orientation, is a cut and dry crime. Its common sense; two people in very different phases of their adolescence have no business being together!   If Kaitlyn Hunt were a boy, this hoopla would not be happening; nobody would be protesting anything. The bottom line here is that a 14 year old cannot consent to any kind of intimacy, and that is the violation Kaitlyn Hunt has to answer for.

I think in an effort to prevent a situation like this, the laws should be taught within high school health class/sex education– just like “No means No” and “Drunk people can’t consent,” high schoolers should be made aware that age laws matter too.  I do not believe Kaitlyn Hunt should be labeled as any kind of predator in the future– but she did behave defiantly after she had had been charged. Hunt blatantly disregarded the order to stay away from her girlfriend and continued to send private messages and photos/video to the younger party. She definitely dug herself a little deeper, as evidenced by the plea deal that Vero Beach prosecutors took off the table following her bond revocation.

– Hunt family attorney, Julia Graves, has stated that they wish to work with lawmakers following Kaitlyn Hunt’s release in order to change the law so teenagers attending the same school cannot  be prosecuted for engaging in sexual relationshipsAre you kidding me? The arguments that laws are unfair, considering public schools have students who are of age enrolled simultaneously with those who are under the age of consent, are ridiculous. Are districts supposed to reassign staff and students to new buildings? That would be a logistical and tax nightmare no one would volunteer to participate in. I think the Romeo & Juliet law sufficiently addresses these scenarios, if they are unable to be resolved in pre-trial mediation.

Kaitlyn’s mother, Kelley Hunt Smith, had been active in writing on a Facebook group (the page has since been taken down); sharing content I don’t feel was particularly helpful to her daughter or the looming legal situation. 
(Ex:) “Does my daughter deserve to lose her life for 15 years, or 3 years, or to have no life, because of one choice she made in high school, absolutely not!!”
(Ex:) “The (assistant) state attorney, Brian Workman needs to use taxpayers money to prosecute REAL criminals, not a high school student who has never been in trouble a day in her young life, all because she had a mutual consenting relationship with someone who has bigoted parents.”
—> INTERESTING REBUTTAL TO THIS SEEMINGLY DEVOTED MOTHER’S PARENTING STYLE AND OVERALL APPROACH TO LIFE <—

It’s not like she’s Casey Anthony. By the time her probation/house arrest is over, people outside her town will largely have forgotten about her/this. Kaitlyn Hunt was able to walk with her class at Sebastian River High School’s graduation, and will have the opportunity to take college classes online while she is finishing her sentence– so she isn’t quite ‘losing time’ or ‘ruining her future’ as her family suggests. This black cloud will not follow her forever. She should be grateful she isn’t having to register as a sex offender! If she is truly the warm, personable girl her family has claimed, she should be able to gracefully explain her situation to future partners and employers.

 

 

UPDATE —> Kaitlyn Hunt gives an interview from jail; not really taking responsibility for her behavior AT ALL.





On My Radar

29 05 2012

Here’s a recap of some things I have been following/thinking about lately:

1.  Amanda Bynes is a HOT MESS. 

Amanda Bynes, 2008 SAG Awards

In 6 weeks time the former Nickelodeon darling has gotten a DUI and been involved in (by my count) four fenderbenders — the first of which had her sideswiping an LAPD patrol car.

Bynes, 26, has worked consistently as a comedic actor since childhood. First featuring on Nickelodeon’s Saturday night program All That, an SNL-like variety show for the tween set, before starring alongside Jennie Garth in the fan-favorite What I Like About You in 2002. Bynes was last seen on the big screen in Easy A (2010) and Hairspray (2007).

Until recently, Bynes seemed to be humble and healthy. I’m thoroughly surprised at her antics; they certainly feel more fallen-Disney-star (*cough*LiLo!*cough*) than disgraced Nick star (*cough*JamieLynn!*cough*).  I hope she pulls herself together, because I know she can continue into adulthood and be just as funny and just as successful as before.

I think it’s time for someone to ‘Ask Ashley’ about a 5-step program.

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2.  John Edwards is (still) a douche.

The disgraced politico and one-time presidential hopeful has done little to change his image, or himself. In all fairness though, theres not much he could do.  You cheat on your cancer-stricken wife and have an illegitimate child with the bimbo, you get a special seat in Hell.

His trial has concluded, and (literally) the jury’s still out as to whether he violated federal law by using campaign funds to cover-up his affair with videographer Rielle Hunter.

I am STUNNED that his daughter Kate has been at his side throughout the trial, much like she was by her mother’s side as she was DYING. I am not part of their family, and want to refrain from being too judgemental, but WHAT’S UP WITH THAAAT?!!  She’s an adult. She should be able to look at the situation objectively and say “He’s still my dad… but he’s also a douche.”  He isn’t looking out for ANYONE but himself, so don’t get too wide-eyed at the possibility that if he is acquitted, he will live the rest of his life trying to atone for his flaws. He won’t.

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3. Movies whose announced release dates have been moved back — This is never good!

G.I… Just Kidding

It was announced just days ago that GI Joe: Retaliation will not hit theaters June 29 as planned. They apparently decided to delay the premiere in order to apply a 3D treatment, ya know, so they can squeeze more money out of us. 

I think two things occurred to Paramount execs a little too late; they realized that the first one wasn’t great and they were going to be EMBARASSED by the continued success of The Avengers.  Also, they would have had two Tatum flicks pitted against eachother: GI Joe Retaliation and the testosterone-rich ensemble film Magic Mike.

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4.  Ted Kaczynski lists convictions/sentences as achievements on Harvard Class of 1962 alumni newsletter.

I read a couple articles about this:  I chuckled to myself then I wondered for a second why it was news, before remembering how stupid and touchy people are. I think the reunion committee took the harder of two options; someone (probably a liberal) would have objected to Kaczynski’s total omission from all things related to the Class of ’62 reunion, but I’m guessing now we know that MORE PEOPLE object to the mockery being made of their own successes by listing his legal tribulations amongst their MDs, PhDs and the like.  Either way, he’s still in prison and they’re all presumably quite rich… Let’s focus on that instead.

A mildly-related item: I immediately was reminded of a CLASSIC Will Ferrell skit on SNL in which The Unabomber attended his class reunion. I still pee my pants a little, even having seen it dozens of times. ENJOY!

 http://ahref=

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5.  Phil Phillips wins American Idol! 

Phillip Phillips, 21, of Georgia, wins Season 11 of FOX reality competition AMERICAN IDOL

Season 11 closed out with a high and a low; record-breaking numbers of votes and viewers. 132 million votes were logged between the finalists, but Nielsen Soundscan reports that this was the least watched conclusion of any AI competition season (nearly 8 million fewer than last year).

My brother and I liked Phil from the beginning. HOWEVER, I told my brother I would not cast a single vote for him until he performed a Dave Matthews song. (Which he finally did when he made the Top 6!)

I love that he never picked big numbers to get votes; he was always authentic and original. I have described his voice to non-Idol-watching friends as “if Dave Matthews, John Mayer and Tom Waits had a vocal lovechild.”   He’s hot. That’s all there is to it!

Runner-up Jessica Sanchez, a 16-year-old powerhouse from the San Diego area, was no slouch. I cannot and will not deny she is a great talent. BUT I also cannot and will not deny that she lacked personality. Singing a big song is only part of being in that business, and she just needs to live a little more life before she can top the charts.

I’m also glad Phillips won because I never felt that Sanchez should have been allowed to compete. Her Wikipedia page lists a number of accomplishments and professional opportunities earned before her Idol audition. The format of the show has evolved so much since season 1, but I know you cannot have had a record deal prior to auditioning. (Carly Smithson of season 7 was controversial for being in violation of that rule.)  Sanchez was featured on two major recordings, which from a technical standpoint I guess doesn’t violate the eligibility requirements, but it doesn’t seem fair. She’s got a lot of famous fans, and thanks to the show she’s had more exposure, so I don’t doubt that she will get a deal regardless of taking 2nd place. But who’s to say she wouldn’t have gotten the deal anyway? And if she hadn’t made the Top 24, would Phillips still have won?  I guess I’m glad they let her through, because ultimately she didn’t win.

But still, what kind of pop-culture consumer would I be if I didn’t obsess over people I don’t know and speculate on things that didn’t happen?