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Saturday
Mar262011

'Jessi Slaughter' Dad Charged With Child Abuse

Comstock/Thinkstock(MARION COUNTY, Fla.) -- The father of a Florida seventh grader whose profanity-laced video prompted online death threats last year has been arrested for allegedly assaulting his daughter.

Gene Leonhardt, 53, was charged by police in Marion County, Florida, with child abuse in the incident, which occurred last month.

According to the police report, first reported on the website Smoking Gun, the girl said she had been arguing with her father when he "punched her, causing her to have a bloody and swollen lips."

Leonhardt pleaded not guilty to the child abuse charge and was freed on $5,000 bond.

The girl, who goes by the screen name "Jessi Slaughter," saw her YouTube video rocket across the Internet last summer. In it, her rage boiled with violent threats and graphic language that she used against online tormentors she said were bullying her.

Her father also appeared on the video, angrily vowing to call the "cyber police" to get relief for his daughter.

She ended the video by giving the middle finger and blowing a kiss at the camera.

Jessi created an Internet firestorm when she posted the nearly five-minute video raging against online bullies who had called her names and accused a friend of raping her.

Once her story hit the message boards of 4chan, an infamous and anonymous network of Web savvy users, the threats against Jessi started coming fast and furious. Members of Anonymous, a group linked to 4chan, quickly joined in, as did users of the like-minded site Tumblr.

They posted her full name, address and home phone numbers and death threats began rolling in.

At the time, a Marion County Sheriff's Office spokesman said that detectives there were investigating the situation to look for evidence of cyberbulling and cyber-stalking.

Authorities got involved after a series of phone calls and emails were made, warning detectives that a young girl was possibly being exploited online.

Her video, as well as a follow-up video in which her father rages against her bullies, has been seen by millions. In the second video, as Jessi sobs in front of the camera, Gene Leonhardt warns viewers to leave his daughter alone.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio