Citrus County, FL — As the Free Thought Project reports on a regular basis, police officers are caught preying on society's most vulnerable on a weekly basis. Most of the time, even when they are found guilty of utterly revolting crimes against children, they receive only wrist slaps and avoid a just punishment. One law enforcement officer in Florida described by many as a monster, however, just made the exception to the rule and has been sentenced to life in prison for his crimes against children.
Kenneth Slanker, 41, worked as a corrections officer at the Coleman Correctional Complex in Sumter County when he was accused of horrifying sexual battery against a child under the age of 10.
The Citrus County Sheriff's Office's Special Victim's Unit began their investigation into Slanker in 2019 over allegations that he began abusing a girl when she was just 5. He was quickly arrested and went to trial earlier this year.
Before a warrant was even issued for his arrest, Slanker turned himself into authorities. The crimes were so horrifying that even Slanker referred to himself as a monster.
During a recorded police interview, Slanker admitted to abusing the girl “between 20 and 25 times,” calling himself “a monster,” but denied it happening for 10 years.
“I didn’t want any of it … it’s just like something takes over; your body starts shaking … I really don’t know how to explain it,” Slanker told Conley before his arrest. “I’m sorry, and it’s not her fault. … I just want to make sure she doesn’t have to testify … I’m not going to fight it.”
This month, he was sentenced to life in prison for multiple charges of child sexual battery and the girl did actually testify.
During the brief one day trial in February, the girl, now 16, testified to Slanker first abusing her when she was 5 years old, and showing her pornography when she was 8.
“(Slanker) is a monster,” Assistant State Attorney Shannon Schlarf said in opening statements at the trial. “That’s not actually my words, that’s the defendant’s. … He claimed he was a monster because he did this.”
The girl said Slanker’s abuse became a norm in her life she couldn’t escape from.
“I didn’t want to go through any of that but I didn’t have a choice,” she said. “It was very secretive, he made sure he had a way around it.”
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She told the court that this monster would threaten her when she didn’t agree to his demands, or if she was thinking of telling someone.
“I didn’t have a way out of it,” she said.
Because Slanker had access to the girl any time he wanted, she had no way of telling anyone as she was scared of what he would do. However, she suffered a sports injury and went through surgeries starting in November 2018, and it kept Slanker from abusing her, and allowed her to tell relatives a few months later, she testified.
“I was done keeping it away all the time,” she said, adding she didn’t want to report Slanker to authorities. “I felt like it would do more harm than good.”
Thankfully, she got over those fears and this monster is now going to jail where he belongs.
Prosecutors also called a 20-year-old woman to the witness stand who testified to Slanker abusing her in similar ways and numerous times when she was younger.
“I’ve spent a lot of years suppressing this,” she testified, “and I finally get justice.”
After the sentencing, the sheriff's department took to distancing themselves from this monster.
"Kenneth Slanker is a textbook example of a sexual predator. He betrayed, manipulated, and victimized this innocent child," Sheriff Mike Prendergast said at the time.
"Due to the excellent work by Citrus County Sheriff's Office Detectives Ricci and Barry, Kenneth Slanker will never have the opportunity to prey on another child as long as he lives," Prendergast said. "Although no amount of prison time will undo what he has done to this innocent child, the victim and the victim's family now have closure and a sense of justice."
During an interview, Slanker had some final words.
“There’s something wrong with me. … People like me deserve a bullet in their head,” Slanker said. “They’re going to put me away forever, and that’s where I need to be. … Please put me away.”