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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
berbobloo July 19, 2010, 11:14 PM

her mother seems absolutely brain dead.
no parent should believe that their kid is an angel! Jesse deserves better parents than the 2 fucktards of parents she has now.

Beeraw July 19, 2010, 11:15 PM

I have no sympathy for “Jessi Slaughter”. Her behavior was terrible, and sorry, but she got what she deserved. Hopefully she will learn from this lesson. But gosh, NO 11 year old should act this way…period.

YADUNGOOFED July 19, 2010, 11:23 PM


Anonymoose July 19, 2010, 11:30 PM

That bit about “not wanting to see the videos” really grinds my gears.

She’s under investigation for child endangerment and facilitation of production of CP, and she CONTINUES to refuse to take responsibility. Any parent worth their salt would investigate what their child was doing. If she had been paying attention a week ago this might not have happened.

A cursory google search on “Jessica Leonhardt” reveals that her parents are the “most irresponsible parents in the world”, and this woman DOESN’T WANT TO KNOW. People like this are the reason we use the phrase “head in the sand”.

Mitchell Henderson July 19, 2010, 11:32 PM

I am the guy jessi slapped.

She did it because I told on her since she stole my ipod.

That was a bad day….

Dahvie Vanity July 19, 2010, 11:34 PM


Hannibal July 19, 2010, 11:36 PM

The guy from the band the mother is speaking about is named Dahvie Vanity.

He is a sex offender.

He was charged with sexual contact of a minor!

Worse still is that this Jessi girl actually posted an allusion to a sexual relationship between the two.

I was skeptical at first but then their are pictures of this pervert kissing tween girls on the mouth and groping them!

Just goes to show that you have to monitor everything your kids to online.

whatamess July 19, 2010, 11:59 PM

How very sad that parents are so pathetic nowadays to allow such things…

Sadly, this reminds me of my husband’s daughter who lives with her mother. It was all exactly the same at that age. She’s only 15 and in the past few years I have seen threats such as “I will beat you up, I will knock you out” to a girl…b#$%$%ch is the nicest word posted…f#$%#$% is her favorite word…pics in bikini tops at age 11 w/boys writing “take it off so I can see your ti…s” and the list goes on and on…spoken to many lawyers, all have stated “no way you will gain custody…you will only spend money and nothing will be done…this is just a different parenting style”…now at 15 she is pregnant, has barely attended school this year, is in 8th grade and will be a mom a month after turning 16…and anytime my husband has attempted to call or see her or talk to her the only words out of her mouth are “f#$%#$ck you, loser” etc…my mother was right about you…and well, the courts would not bother getting involved…We are broke and have no way to fight this…and of course, as an out of control teen whose mom has brainwashed her and allowed her to do whatever she feels like doing, there is not much her father can do…

This is happening all over…where are these parents coming from? When her sister was just 9 or so, she had posted “sexy”, “you hate me because your boyfriend thinks I’m sexy”, etc…going down the same path…

The only people to blame here are the irresponsible parents. Period. In addition, our family court system who has allowed kids to stay with “the parent they want to live with”, thus not allowing a father to truly parent a child when they are out of control…

There will be many more…There should be a law that ANY CHILD under the age of 18 cannot join ANY social networking page, blog, chat, etc…and any child who does so from their home (the IP can be traced) more than 3 times, should be removed from their home and put into foster care. Otherwise, parents will continue to allow this behavior and these will be the “adults” of the future.

Jayne July 20, 2010, 12:30 AM

This mother is absolutely deluded. Her child has been producing videos online for quite some time, many of which in her underwear and even at one point exposing her breasts. The disgustingly delinquent video which brought her all the attention illustrates perfectly what an awful little child she is yet despite this fact I can’t help but blame her parents. Admittedly the way that many individuals have reacted to her online activity (prank calls etc) is less than admirable but I think in this instance the backlash from the internet is the only from of parental discipline this child has had and hopefully she has learned her lesson. Her parents were not only unaware of her activity online but once they were forced to pay attention they chose to blame everyone except themselves or to a lesser extent their daughter for the troubles they were facing and bizzarly support her behavior (including a speculated sexual scandal with an adult band member). This in my opinion is a clear example of BAD PARENTING and should be a lesson to parents out there on the dangers of providing full internet access to their underage children. Jessi should be taken away from her seemingly intellectually disabled parents before any more damage is done.

jason July 20, 2010, 12:32 AM

first off, the mother is lying about neing so clever about the first call she recieved.she did not ask the chiefs name and overall, seemed to fall for the petty crank call.its widely available for those who seek it out and thy can listen for themselves.that said, lying in the first paragraph, would make much of her statement null and void, and the part where she claims her daughter is supposedly writing lyrics for the band “blood on the dance floor” seems like a lame attempt for her to discredit the bands lyrics.if she had written any im certain she would have expected to get her name credited as lyricist.the girl also claimed to have sexual relations with davie vahney. her (jessi’s) video was very graphic and she uses phrases that no eleven year old should even understand. her mother really should watch it, then she may realize why many were upset by can one parent a child when theyre not willing to except the truth? if i spoke like that when i was her age, my parents wouldve beat me.

Anonymous July 20, 2010, 12:37 AM

does her mom realize she camwhored and did strip teases ?

Les July 20, 2010, 12:38 AM

No wonder this girl is an brainless dolt. Her parents are brainless dolts!

I can’t believe these morons got back on the net and posted a response to their harassers. It’s like pouring gas on a fire.

What to do?

1. Take the girls computer.

2. Take her cell phone.

3. Forbid her to use ANY computer or cell phone for the next 6 months.

anon July 20, 2010, 12:42 AM

Honestly she’s 11 years old you need to pay attention to what she’s doing on the computer.

Did it ever cross your mind your daughter could be lying to you? Does it even cross your mind your daughter might not be the little angel she says she is?

The girl needs better parents, I feel sorry for her. She acts this way because no one taught her otherwise.


bobo July 20, 2010, 12:47 AM

What they need to do is sell this girls computer and take the proceeds and purchase a dental plan for this girl. Her teeth are a crooked mess…

LC July 20, 2010, 1:13 AM

“I was so angry how they treated her…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.”

This woman is a joke. It’s probably best Jessi was taken into police custody to get her the hell away from such neglectful parents.

Tree July 20, 2010, 1:21 AM

This is just sad.

dodo July 20, 2010, 1:31 AM

lol officer annonymus is on youtube lol.
she hung up. not the officer. rofl.

the mom is a liar.

people of the internet know more then mommeh! XD

troll July 20, 2010, 1:36 AM

[Comment deleted by Cyber Police]

sczx July 20, 2010, 1:37 AM


Bill Waggoner July 20, 2010, 1:40 AM

These parents are completely disconnected from reality. You didn’t even press her on the topless photo Jess posted or her purported sexual relationship with Blood on the Dance Floor frontman Dahvie Vanity.

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