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Leesburg man sentenced to life in prison for molesting young girl

A Leesburg man faces life in prison after being sentenced for child molestation in a Lake County courtroom on Tuesday.

Johnny Lee Kennedy
Johnny Lee Kennedy

Jurors found 35-year-old Johnny Lee Kennedy guilty of two counts of sexual battery upon a person under 12 years of age and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child. He was sentenced to life in the Florida Department of Corrections and designated as a sexual predator in accordance with Florida statutes. 

“This life sentence serves as another overwhelming testament that our office will vigorously pursue and prosecute those who harm our children,” said William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “We will continue to work alongside our law enforcement partners to protect and advocate for the youth in our community.”    

Back in August 2017, it was reported to Lake County Sheriff’s Office officials that Kennedy had sexually battered an 8-year-old victim. During the investigation, the victim revealed to detectives that Kennedy had sexually abused them for the past two years, with the most recent incident occurring just a week prior. 

The victim was transported to the local child advocacy center for further investigation. At the center, the victim recounted to authorities numerous instances of Kennedy sexually battering them, disclosing crucial details. LCSO deputies then attempted to contact Kennedy regarding the allegations. Several attempts were made to locate him without success. 

An arrest warrant was issued, and Kennedy was eventually arrested on Sept. 10, 2017, in West Virginia where he was later transported back to Lake County. 

This case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant State Attorneys Shannon Schlarf and Gennady Gusak. The circuit extended a sincere thanks to Master Deputy John Caston of the LCSO for his phenomenal job collecting evidence in this case and then recounting those exhibits while testifying, despite the nearly six-year time difference between the two. 

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