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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
MrCharm July 20, 2010, 6:49 AM

Cyberbullying is, indeed, a serious problem but this began because of a daughter that’s a reckless and out of control liar combined with a mother that’s totally out of touch and naive. A recipe for disaster. And that’s what happened. They both need serious counseling.

Rick July 20, 2010, 6:57 AM

“I don’t even know what these videos show and I don’t want to view them.”

That’s well and good… but unfortunately, when your daughter is a hot mess, maybe the first step in stopping her shitstorm would be to actually understand the shitstorm. Turn on your computer, watch the videos. Understand what kind of little monster you created… and figure out how to stop it.

trololololo July 20, 2010, 7:08 AM

this woman is probably the most inept woman to ever bring a child into this world.

Rikki July 20, 2010, 7:16 AM

I think it’s completely irresponsible of this mother to say that she for one doesn’t know if there are videos, when obviously there are, as the parents came in on one being made…why would you publish a random “poor me” video, and for two says she will not watch the videos. The daughter needs to be sent away for mental help and the parents need couseling on how to be parents instead of clueless idiots.

meagan July 20, 2010, 7:52 AM

i honestly feel bad for how horribly people are treating this girl, but she basically brought it onto herself. i understand her mother cannot be in the same room with her all the time,
BUT FOR GOD SAKES, REALLY?
he father filmed one of the videos with her, and her mother hasnt even seen them? someone strap that poor excuse for a parent to a chair and let her see what her child is REALLY doing

lulz July 20, 2010, 7:53 AM

“I don’t even know what these videos show and I don’t want to view them.”

that’s what you should do in situations like this.

NOT

dany July 20, 2010, 8:08 AM

I think the mother did watch the videos. I know if my kids were accused of something like this I would take the time to look it up on the internet and watch it. She is just covering for her daughter now, We dont know whats real she says. Bull crap.

Sasha Stone July 20, 2010, 8:12 AM

This mom is so in the dark it isn’t even funny. Okay, lady, this is what you need to know:

YES your daughter was making this video and YES she was taking sordid, sleazy photos of herself and posting them. SHE IS A LITTLE LIAR. Do not believe her for a second. She knows you are not educated on computers and so she is taking advantage of you. GET SMART about this and do the following:

1) she is BANNED from using her computer for an entire year. If it were me, it would be until she was 15. But I know that you don’t want to see her cry so make it 1 year. OFF of the computer.

2) Get her into therapy. She is headed for two things - suicide or sexploitation. Neither is good. Her language is foul, her manner is offensive and she will get raped at some point.

3) Educate yourself on the internet. Google your daughter. Read comments. Yes, it hurts to hear the things people say but guess what? THAT IS THE INTERNET!

4) Make her start treating herself with respect: no tawdry clothing. How could you let her even dress like that? Does she have any rules at all?

5) If you choose to go online you open yourself up for criticism. You have to learn how to manage it and it isn’t easy. It takes time. ALL PARENTS have to know what the internet is all about before letting their kids have access to it. Your daughter is now famous. She needs to be offline for a long time to get herself and her life back.

This is not HER FAULT. This is YOUR FAULT. And your daughter is lying to you. Deal with it now or pay the price later.

Anonymous July 20, 2010, 8:21 AM

This is really quite sad. I’m hoping that this interview isn’t real, because it isn’t healthy for a mother to be in such denial. And for all these things to occur over and over, you still don’t believe she did anything? Wow. I believe defax needs to intervene. If this child has the freedom to expose herself like this on the internet and the parents are defending her, something is severely wrong. Is this a sign of our times? What a disqusting family.

An unfunny 4chan poster who is trying to fit in. July 20, 2010, 8:48 AM

I discovered a site called 4chan.org in the last year and I found out they do these kinds of things. Thinking people might accept me on an Anonymous board where reputation can not be made, I jumped on the bandwagon and became an Anonymous sheep and partook in all their unfunny activities that were funnier when they were all done in 2006. lol epic win fail rofl u dun goofed so funi epic

MG July 20, 2010, 8:54 AM

wow, all the parental denial! No wonder she’s been taken into protection, these two don’t know what she’s doing, what she’s posting, or clearly how obnoxious and irritating their own child is. Get some common sense.

Brian Peppers July 20, 2010, 9:02 AM

This is not kirlygirl13’s fault.. is the parents.. nuff said..

may July 20, 2010, 9:07 AM

Ithink the cancer thing sheds some light onwhat this is.

This ‘miracle child’ is obviously SPOILED AS HELL just because of being a ‘miracle child’… Congratulation’s mam, you’ve shaped Satan =_=;;;


Dumbcunt July 20, 2010, 9:22 AM

Wow, the parents are idiots. They need to learn how to raise a child.

Vayle July 20, 2010, 9:30 AM

You don’t want to see the little monster inside these videos, that’s the biggest problem. You want to pretend things are peaches and roses. You’re hiding from the truth that she’s a dark, twisted, spoiled, brat.
I think I’ve made the decision to never have kids because I couldn’t stand to see the poor thing have to associate with people like her.
Your daughter is the poster child for birth control…! 4 Serious.
You’re the type of person that blames video games, schools, bullies, and anything but themselves. You think you’re perfect. Well here’s a good wake up call.
What’s wrong with America? Parents. Parent. Parents.
They pop out kids just because it’s something to do. When it comes to responsibility, they leave it to everyone else as you fart around with every simple distraction.
Maybe you should’ve never had kids..? You ever think of that?
This is a good lesson to all. You get what you give.

Anonymous July 20, 2010, 9:33 AM

This woman is completely brain-dead. How she blames everyone else for her daughter’s problems & shortcomings is downright disgraceful and she should no be allowed to have anymore children. The father is the most current laughing stock of the internet and isn’t any better of a parent. To allow a child of only 11 to have a computer in her room, unsupervised, with a webcam is just bad parenting. And if my child went on the WORLD WIDE WEB and said she was going to “Pop a Glock in your mouth and make a brain slushy.” I would say she got what she deserved.

Natalie July 20, 2010, 9:34 AM

I cannot believe how ignorant this mother is. How can you honestly expect to raise a pre-teen child when you don’t monitor their activities? Sure, she’s your miracle baby, but if you let your miracle baby do whatever they want, they’re going to end up in a bad corner of life because their parents NEVER SET RULES. Parents like this are the reason the majority of our young society today are spoiled rotten brats with no idea of the consequences that accompany their actions.

Blackshark July 20, 2010, 9:34 AM

“I don’t even know what these videos show and I don’t want to view them”

Not only is Jessi lying to the Police she didn’t make the videos, but as a mother who’s claiming to protect her daughter never bothers to actually see what her daughter did deserves to be punished. You can’t be in a room 24/7? Hello? Who do you work as? I even bet you’re unemployed! Do you honestly have no 5 minutes to go onto youtube and see what Jessi did? If not- you should give this child to protective services as you can’t even spare a couple of minutes to find out “what’s real and what’s not”. These ‘trolls’ are actually doing you a favor…


NYC77 July 20, 2010, 9:45 AM

Are you kidding me?

This woman is completely insane. She still hasn’t even watched the videos? Because her daughter denies making them? And that’s it? There are dozens of them. She talks graphically about sexual encounters, getting pierced, violence and all kinds of random profanity. They’re OUT THERE ON THE INTERNET. It’s REAL.

And then she says that her advice to parents is to ‘believe your children and give them the benefit of the doubt’????? I just have no words.

I actually felt bad for them at first, but they deserve every bit of grief they get and then some.

/b/ubba July 20, 2010, 9:46 AM

YOU DUN GOOFED, Jessi.

Her parents should lose her, and she should be in an orphanage.


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