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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
beemis July 20, 2010, 9:46 AM

so the mom thinks an 11 year old girl helps a 25 year old MAN write lyrics?

yeah, makes sense.

Anonymous July 20, 2010, 9:47 AM

There’s points on her facebook that state that the guy from that band slept with her when she was ten. There’s videos of her saying that she was sleeping around when she was eleven. Maybe this mom needs to be forced to go to some parenting seminars and actually figure out how to monitor her child. Also, an eleven year old should NEVER be allowed on the internet. This whole situation is completely rediculous.


Anonymous July 20, 2010, 10:06 AM

Can’t believe the mom STILL won’t watch the videos that her daughter made that started this.

kay July 20, 2010, 10:13 AM

All signs point to this child having been sexually abused and exposed to things far beyond her years. She needs to be in therapy NOW.

The computer needs to be removed from the house. PERIOD.

I listened to the taped phone call from the faux police man and the mother is either drunk, stoned and/or mentally delayed. Her conversation skills are deplorable and she fails to grasp the significance of what is going on. This interview validates that as well. Notice how it’s more about the mom than about Jessi.

Jessi is savvy and is clearly taking advantage of her mother’s incapacitated and uneducated state to get away with the things she is doing.

Her Twitter account is still active and it’s horrible. No child should have this kind of language and comprehension. A child should also not be friends with a man, especially one who has a record and is a sex offender.

Wake up. You’re daughter needs help, you’re clearly not capable of helping her so please get her into therapy.

Marc (tm) July 20, 2010, 10:28 AM

I wonder why she hates the people who have done all that instead of the fact, that you could be a total transparent person on the internet (if forced by yourself!).

She should teach her daugther about privacy, which she has not!

And: oh miracle child. I can imagine the childhood she had…..princess…..

Mr. Khil July 20, 2010, 10:30 AM



Christina July 20, 2010, 10:33 AM

Mom is absolutely in the dark! She’s burying her head in the sand pretending nothing happened. I know everyone wants to believe their child is an angel, but the evidence against Jessi is irrefutable! Jessi made videos using foul language and took promiscuous photos of herself. While these Actions don’t merit the magnitude of harassment she has received, Dianne needs to have a conversation about Jessi’s behavior. As a parent, it’s her duty to know what Jessi is up to. “I can’t be with her 24/7” is a cop out when she readily admits she doesn’t know and doesn’t want to know about her daughters online activity.

another mom July 20, 2010, 10:53 AM

I agree you cannot watch your child all the time. But you can take away at night: her cell phone, computer, video camera, and other electronic and digital items. She’s at the stage where these items should be removed completely from her life. Maybe in 6 months or a year she can earn the right to use a computer/phone/camera with supervision. The problem is that this has already spun out of control. She was wearing inappropriate clothes for an 11 year old girl, in the video with her dad- where are her role models and supervision? She and the family need professional psychological help, and tips and rules for keeping children safe in this digital era.

Anon July 20, 2010, 11:00 AM

The internet is not a place for children, nor is it a place for “education”. Also FBI cannot close 4chan because the United States government does not control the internet. Learn the rules newfag.

Jamale July 20, 2010, 11:17 AM

1 more reason to hate me “I CAN CUT MY OWN BANGS!! haterzzz”

Anonymous July 20, 2010, 11:28 AM

Dear parents, this woman is an example of what not to do with your children. Jessi and her parents should be prosecuted. We have to apply for permits to do ANYTHING. There should also be an application before breeding.

Rachel July 20, 2010, 11:30 AM

I must agree with the majority of the people who have posted comments so far.. These parents have no parenting skills and I know that I would never let my daughter, niece, nephew or any other child be online without some sort of parental supervision. At that age and with her actions I would have been grounded and gotten a really good ole butt whipping.. GROW UP PARENTS>>> WATCH THE VIDEOS AND GET WITH REALITY..

Anon July 20, 2010, 11:36 AM

“These kids have to get up at 7:00 AM, have breakfast and do schoolwork”

Oh the nerve

Andrew July 20, 2010, 11:56 AM

The kids have to get up at 7 and do schoolwork? Oh no! I’d wager that the DCF is doing a better job raising this girl than her own parents.

HomoSapiens July 20, 2010, 12:01 PM

Oh… C’mon What an ,,innocent” child..
She was just selling cp of her from her webcam, and when anons wanted to do someting with that cyber-police and state-police wil be back-tracing us, and her father will come to asia to use his glock kill us all, just to cover that phedo-buissnes.

Oh  July 20, 2010, 12:13 PM

There was one comment in here saying anyone under 18 shouldn’t be able to sign up for any social networking sites? I’m sorry.. what?

There’s oblivious parents everywhere and there’s probably hundreds of kids like Jessie who dress slutty, say things that someone way older shouldn’t even say and act like this. But then again, what is an appropriate age for anyone to act like she did in the videos?

anonymous July 20, 2010, 12:17 PM

good thing her mom doesn’t go on the /the site we dont mention/ otherwise she’d be the cancer lol

lol July 20, 2010, 12:24 PM


anonymous July 20, 2010, 12:28 PM

What’s happening to the girl is terrible, but the mom is more than a little foolish. The kid is 11. Make it impossible for her to use the computer without her mom or dad in the room.

anon July 20, 2010, 12:51 PM

Ok, so if Jessi’s parents read this, I know who did it, it’s a website just for trolls, they do things like this all the time, I believe they should be shut down, but whatever.
I hope Jessi turns out alright, and to the people terrorizing her; She’s flipping 11, she doesn’t deserve this, tell me you never did anything stupid when you were her age. :/

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