Kenneth Slanker. 41. of Inverness was sentenced on Wednesday 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.
Citrus County Detectives Tony Ricci and Tiffany Barry with the CCSO Special Victim’s Unit (SVU) worked swiftly to bring justice and security to the victim, making an arrest within a day of the allegations. Slanker was employed at the time as a corrections officer at the Coleman Correctional Complex in Sumter County.
On Feb. 19 of this year, Slanker was found guilty of the allegations against him by a jury during a one-day trial. On Wednesday Detective Ricci, along with the victim and members of the victim’s family, spoke in Judge Ric 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.
“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,” Citrus County Sheriff Mike 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,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “This case exemplifies the high level of cooperation between CCSO, the Child Protection Team, and the State Attorney’s Office when it comes to seeking justice in these type of cases. These agencies work tirelessly to give a voice to victims.”
(Original news release)
At approximately 9:18 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) arrested 41-year-old Kenneth Slanker of Inverness. Slanker was arrested after an initial investigation revealed that he sexually battered a juvenile victim. Slanker was employed as a corrections officer at the Coleman Correctional Complex in Sumter County.
Initial information regarding the sexual battery was reported late Tuesday night, Feb. 5. 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.
“Kenneth Slanker is a textbook example of a sexual predator. He betrayed, manipulated, and victimized this innocent child,” said Sheriff Prendergast.
“We will work diligently with the State Attorney’s Office to build a concrete case against Slanker and obtain justice for our victim. If you are the victim of a sex offense, we are here to help you. You are not alone and do not have to suffer in silence.”
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. Slanker was arrested and charged with Sexual Battery Victim under 12, Lewd and Lascivious Battery, and Lewd and Lascivious Molestation. A
$250,000 bond was set by Judge Thompson at first appearance.
This investigation is ongoing, as the offenses are spread-out across multiple counties and we believe there may possibly be more victims. If you have any information pertaining to this investigation, or if you or someone you know is a victim, please contact the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office at (352) 249-2790 and ask to speak with the Special Victim’s Unit.