CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – A former Florida correctional officer is sentenced to life in prison for years of sexual battery. His victim was 9 years old when the abuse began.
41-year-old Kenneth Slanker of Inverness was sentenced to life in prison. Slanker was arrested in 2019 after an initial investigation revealed that he sexually battered a juvenile victim over a period of years. Slanker was employed at the time as a corrections officer at the Coleman Correctional Complex in Sumter County, Florida.
On February 5, 2019, initial information regarding the sexual battery was reported to officers. An interview with the victim was conducted the following day where she disclosed years of sexual abuse by Slanker. The victim informed detectives that the earliest incident of sexual abuse had occurred when she
was less than 10-years-old.
With the information gathered, detectives began to build a case against Slanker. During his interview with detectives, Slanker confessed to approximately twenty-five instances where he sexually abused the victim. He admitted that the first instance was when the victim was about nine years old and went on for several years, with the most recent time being just a few months ago. He confessed to multiple sex acts involving the victim, with incidents occurring in Citrus County, Lake County, and Broward County.
Detectives say Slanker employed grooming and intimidation techniques to target his victim in this case. He knew based on his manipulation of the victim, the chances of her disclosing the abuse was low.
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On February 19, 2020, Slanker was found guilty of the allegations against him by a jury during a one day trial. On Wednesday, November 4th, 2020 Detective Ricci, along with the victim and members of the victim’s family, spoke in Judge Howard’s courtroom during the sentencing hearing. They provided statements on how Slanker’s inexcusable actions have irreparably affected the victim and the victim’s family. Judge Howard, after hearing from the prosecution, defense, and victim, sentenced Slanker to life in prison on each of his six charges.
Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast stated, “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.”
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