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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Mom Defends 11-Year-Old YouTube Sensation Jessi Slaughter

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Eleven-year-old Jessica Leonhardt of Florida (who goes by "Jessi Slaughter" and "Kerligirl13" online) recently posted the following video on YouTube [Warning: Explicit language -- NSFW]:



Afterward, she began receiving death threats, and her phone number and home address were posted online. She and her father then made the following video [Warning: Explicit language -- NSFW]:



These controversial videos have already been viewed by more than a million people -- and have even landed Jessica in police protective custody. Jessica's mom, Dianne, speaks exclusively to momlogic.

momlogic: How did all of this Internet drama start?

Dianne Leonhardt: On Thursday evening, it all started. I got a phone call from a guy [representing] himself as a police officer and inquiring about an alleged missing person -- a kid -- who knew or was associated with my daughter. I asked for the missing kid's name and my daughter said she didn't even know who he was. Something didn't seem right; the call seemed weird. So I asked the "officer" what the police chief's name was, and he hung up. The phone rang again, and I told the guy that if he was a real police officer to send a unit to my door. My daughter became more upset because someone had posted a photo of her over the Internet using her head with someone else's body. My daughter was sitting by the computer, and that's the video where my husband was screaming for all of this to stop. We shut the computer down and we were very upset.

ml: When did the actual police get involved?

DL: We all went to bed that night, and then at 1:15 AM, my doorbell rang. Our dog started barking and we heard bam, bam, bam ... someone was banging on our door. It was the Marion County Sheriff's Department. An officer said an anonymous tip had come in that our daughter was hurting herself. He wouldn't tell us who called the tip in, but he made me wake my daughter up to make sure she was OK. The officer was really rude and my daughter kept denying that she made any videos. She kept saying, "I didn't do any of this!" He was here for about 15 minutes.

The next morning, my husband and I were sitting in our home when the doorbell rang again. Another sheriff's department officer was banging on the door. This time, they had another anonymous tip from someone in California claiming my daughter had female prostitutes coming in and out of our home from ads posted on Craigslist. Again, my daughter denied making any of these videos. In the meantime, my mother-in-law called from Michigan, saying she'd gotten a message on Facebook from a man who sent a photo of my daughter with some other guy. I have no idea how they even found her on Facebook! I put the officer on the phone with her and he took down the information. I then went onto my Facebook page and the same guy had sent me a message, too.

After the officer left, I had messages on my voice mail from a man asking me for sex. The guy left his name and number. I also received a death threat on my voice mail, so we called the police back. It was from a bogus number, so they couldn't trace it. The same number has been calling for the last two days, all day and night. We believe it's the same person.

ml: Were you aware that your daughter had been making and posting these videos online?

DL: Jessica has a webcam and a computer. All of her friends have webcams, too, so they video chat with each other. I knew she'd made a video to apply for "America's Got Talent." She sings and sent an audition video in. I had no idea she was making other videos. I have seen her chatting with her friends, but not making videos. 

ml: When did you find out about the videos, and what was your reaction?

DL: The officers had said there were videos, but Jess denied making them. Then my mother-in-law called and said there were videos. But I haven't watched them. I can't be in the room 24/7. We tried to talk to Jess last night, but she got very upset all over again. I am trying to get her back to normal. It's taken a very emotional toll on her. I don't know if she made these videos or not, but she says she didn't. Right now, I am trying to figure out what's real and what's not. This has been very difficult to deal with.

ml: Is it true that your daughter was taken into protective police custody?

DL: Yes. On Friday afternoon around 2:45 PM, another deputy and a DCF officer showed up at my door. The DCF agent was saying my daughter was making all these videos online. I never saw any videos and I didn't even want to turn on the computer. I wanted to leave it alone, but they were hammering my daughter. They didn't talk to her, they were talking at her. They were blaming her, saying, "You did this!" She was denying making the videos. I haven't watched the videos, and I don't want my daughter back online. I don't want to make her all upset again. After all that, DCF took Jess on Friday and put her in protective custody at a center. She came back yesterday. I am so angry about how she was treated. I went to visit her on Saturday, and she just wanted to go home. These kids have to get up at 7:00 AM, have breakfast and do schoolwork. There is no TV for them, and nothing else to do. From 1 to 2 PM, you can have visitors, so I went to see her. If you have no visitors, they tell you to take a nap. I couldn't return that evening for visitation, so they allowed her to make a five-minute call to me. She said she was bored and just staring at the walls. After three minutes, they rushed her off the phone.

ml: Do you have any idea how many people have watched these videos of your daughter online? Some of the videos have more than a million views! Do you realize the magnitude of this situation?

DL: I heard there were over a million views online of people looking at these videos. My phone has been ringing nonstop. I have let my phone go to voice mail, and people are calling and leaving crazy messages. A car company called because [someone] used [Jessi's] name requesting information on a vehicle. Domino's Pizza called because [someone] used her name to order hundreds of pizzas online. Pizza Hut called confirming an order for more than $1,000 worth of pizza; a girl left a message on our voice mail saying, "Hope you're enjoying the pizza." Now I am hearing [that] people are saying online that Jessi killed herself! She's an 11-year-old girl! We're trying to figure out what she posted and what she didn't -- what's real and what's not. We've received many threats. This is out of control. People think this is funny, but they don't realize the damage they're doing.

ml: Why do you think this happened to your daughter and family?

DL: Jessica helps a person write song lyrics. He's in a band, and people are jealous because she knows him and they became friends. She's been to one of his concerts and they've become friends. My daughter is a really friendly person and she chats online with people. She has also been bullied and picked on at school by a boy and two girls. The two girls got in trouble and they were suspended for three days after bullying her. Towards the end of the school year, Jess was suspended for 10 days after being accused of slapping a boy in the face and bruising him. She says she didn't do it and that the boy was sitting at a lunch table talking about how he got bruised after his brother hit him in the face with a softball. Every time something happens, there are no teachers or security guards at the school and Jessica gets in trouble. 

ml: As a mother, what have you learned from all of this?

DL: I am still trying to take this all in. I can't believe this is happening. My daughter is an only child -- she was our miracle child, because I had cervical cancer and was told I couldn't have children. Then, on two years to the date of my recovery, I wasn't feeling well and found out I was pregnant. I can't be in the same room with her 24/7 and I am trying to explain to her what's going on. It's been very difficult because I don't understand what's going on -- I don't even know what these videos show and I don't want to view them. I am upset enough. I have been throwing up and I haven't been able to eat or sleep since this all started last week.

ml: What message do you have for other moms?

DL: Communicate with your child, try and watch them and try and believe what your child is saying to you. Give your child the benefit of the doubt, because nobody else will. And talk to your child about cyberbullying and about how bad it's going to hurt another person. They don't know or understand the dwindling-down effect of what they've created.


next: Teens School Jessi Slaughter (and Her Parents!) via YouTube
480 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous July 19, 2010, 4:59 PM

She should take her own advice in the end and watch her own daughter roflll

Chris July 19, 2010, 4:59 PM

I now completely understand why this girl was out of control on the internet and saying awful things. Her mother is so stupid and gullible the girl just lies to her and denies everything.

I don’t condone what 4chan and Anonymous did to this girl, but it really goes to show you that a lot of people are not capable of handling the internet let alone monitoring and being responsible with their children who are online.

I also have a vague notion that she got her bad mouth from her parents. It just is sad/pathetic her mom won’t even acknowledge what her daughter did too. This all chalks up to terrible/lazy parenting and an 11 year old who was out of control.

Hopefully they get some therapy/parenting counseling and ban her from ever using internet access (unless heavily supervised) till the brat is 18.

dun goofed July 19, 2010, 5:14 PM

shes horrible. this girl is sick watch the video. when i was 11 i sure and hell wasnt talking about ploping glocks in peoples mouths and making brain slushies or sex with guys or sexual parts. i bet you she has no clue what her mom was talking about. and her mom really needs to see the videos and have her instituted, oh jessi also posted proacrative pictures of herself online. her parents are clueless and need to see the videos and actually take her computer and set it on fire. basically the consequences will never be the same.

random dude July 19, 2010, 5:38 PM

Ok i may be a 15 year old person but the mom is clearly STUPID i mean really “oh she didnt do it”. These are clearly the stupidst worst parents i have seen ever.

ne ver th e sam e July 19, 2010, 6:12 PM

consequences.

consequences everywhere!

Chris July 19, 2010, 6:13 PM

For one thing she should check her facts and be a little more sceptical about what her daughter is saying… shes 11 after all. She gonna attempt to wriggle out… Second.. the mother is frigging lying! She said that she asked the prank caller posing as a officer for the chiefs name and that the caller was the one that hung up… when in fact she didn’t ask that and she hung up… the recording of the prank call is on youtube….

Dianne Leonhardt July 19, 2010, 6:17 PM

My daughter is perfect and would never do harm. We will backtrace all of you and report you to teh cyberpolice. And whoever’s calling me, NO, I DON’T WANT TO F*CK YOU.

Lying bunch of pricks.

JohnC July 19, 2010, 6:40 PM

This young girl learned to talk like that mostly from her peers and other video bloggers - you could say she has mastered an art of sorts. Her parents were ignorant of what their child might be doing on the internet, but that’s far from unusual. Parents make mistakes and children make mistakes, and hopefully learn from them. I don’t see the need for all these insults aimed at the parents and even at the girl. Where’s the love and compassion for other fallible people?

vesti July 19, 2010, 6:52 PM

I am 12 and wat is this?

Anonymous July 19, 2010, 6:57 PM

The only way those dumb parents could be worse is if they physically abused her. And its obvious they have not learned a single thing. Her mother is still in cloud coocoo-land. Sorry but Jessi should be fostered out, have counciling on how to behave and those two should never breed again. Ever. They dun goofed.

Dody July 19, 2010, 7:00 PM

Dear Ms. Leonhardt,
I called the police and CPS at 12 am when I noticed what was happening to your daughter. Not that 4 chan and others were harassing her, but that she said she liked to have sex until she bleeds. I did more digging and found more evidence that she may have been molested. This really freaked me out. Even though I am hundreds of miles away I was concerned for your daughter, apparently more concerned for her than you were and are. I was concerned she may have been raped, I was concerned you weren’t protecting her from the pedophiles, and the 4 chans of the world. I was concerned because I too was once a little girl no one cared about. I called them after I realized this was more than just a smart mouthed brat, that this could be a cry for help. And for all the evil 4chan unleashed on your family, I am grateful they made such a huge fuss about your daughter, because now the authorities can step in and ensure she is safe.

You can not say you didn’t know she made videos because you are IN one of those videos with your husband. I saw it. But that isn’t even the worst of it. The worst is this fellow your daughter hangs out with has already been arrested for raping another little girl, and you let him be with her unsupervised. Oh dear God in heaven, and you have the gall to say she is your angel. That she is so special to you because you thought you could have no more. Actions speak louder than words honey, didn’t your mamma ever teach you that? Your actions say you can’t be bothered with her. I hope and pray that a sane judge remands custody to the state, until she is 18 years old! I hope and pray that a judge bars her from the internet until such time as she is mature enough to be on it. Someone must direct, protect, and care for this child, since you obviously find it too overwhelming to do so yourself. You have no honor, you know no shame.

SmohnB July 19, 2010, 7:16 PM

JohnC, there is a big difference between parents that screw up and acknowledge it and a mother that is clearly delusional and goes LOL I DUNNO when presented with evidence any rational person would not attempt to dispute.

The mother deserves no compassion, if anything she deserves to have her child taken away because she is completely unfit to raise her.

Anonymous July 19, 2010, 7:23 PM

Quote from Dody:

“I did more digging and found more evidence that she may have been molested.”

Post the evidence if you have it because this is utter nonsense. You do know you can sued for libel for creating such slander?

Your concern is disingenuous, and your intent is sadistic.

Go back to 4chan, troll.

Anonymous July 19, 2010, 7:42 PM

The problem here is the mom is assuming that her daughter can do no wrong. Here’s a protip: the idea that a child tells their parents everything is crock. Rubbish. As a college student, I know for a fact that there were things I never told my parents.

The fact that Dianne is believing my daughter makes me think she doesn’t know how 11-year-old girls think. Children will lie if they’re scared. They will lie through their teeth to protect their hides.

No, you can’t be in the room 24/7, but you can at least have her learn to use her head for once. The fact that she is making videos and saying that she will ‘glock’ people and give them ‘brain slushies’ shows that your daughter is either messed up in the head or, frankly, a brat.

anon July 19, 2010, 7:45 PM

lmfao

Dody July 19, 2010, 7:47 PM

To Anonymous 7/19/2010,
[“I did some more digging and found evidence she may have been molested.”]

First off, I gave all the evidence to CPS and the police. I do not think it is a good idea to post the stuff I saw on the internet of this little girl. I gave it to the proper authorities, and THEY will determine the actual facts. Since I am so far away, I have no way of knowing for certain what has taken place, hence why I alerted the authorities. However, the demeanor, attitude, and familiarity with sex that little Jessi has, is not at all common nor healthy. There is more that I will not go into, but suffice to say, it was enough for me to be seriously concerned for her immediate welfare.

As for threats of libel, good luck. I am required by law to report any and all possible child abuse. This isn’t libel, this is genuine concern.

As far as the rest, it speaks more to you than to me. Best of luck mom and dad, you need it. Instead of lashing out at those that care, why not listen? You need to, for your daughter’s sake.

Amused July 19, 2010, 7:59 PM

When you make death threats and say “going to pop a glock in your mouth and make a brain slushee” and then receive death threats in return…it’s called getting what’s coming to you.

If her parents were any good they’d take the computer from her until she was mature enough to use it.

Concerned July 19, 2010, 8:06 PM

Your daughter needs discipline. She has a filthy mouth and likely picked it up from her father. How can you both speak that way in front of her?

Jane Mitchell July 19, 2010, 8:17 PM

stories like this are why i keep my children locked in their room except to only bathe. our children aren’t even safe in their own house anymore!!!!

LOL July 19, 2010, 8:46 PM

What a horrible mother. As soon as I read miricale child, I knew they just let this girl get away with murder.

I know parenting is hard, but at least try. Acting stupid and think these videos/problems dont exist is pathetic.


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