- Police said Raffaela Spone, a Pennsylvania mom, made and sent doctored content to her daughter’s cheerleading teammates and coaches.
- The photos and videos depicted the teenage girls naked, smoking, and drinking.
- The mother made them to get the other girls competing with her daughter off the squad, police said.
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A Pennsylvania mom created and disseminated “deepfake” content depicting student cheerleaders naked, drinking, and smoking, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Raffaela Spone, 50, sent the photos and videos of the cheerleaders – her teen daughter’s teammates – to the squad coach in an effort to boot them off the team, prosecutors said, according to the Inquirer.
The Bucks County district attorney’s office said Spone wanted to humiliate the girls on the team. She also allegedly sent these manipulated photos and videos to the teenage cheerleaders, along with harassing texts instructing them to kill themselves.
The cheerleaders are part of the Victory Vipers, a team in Chalfont, Pennsylvania, according to the Inquirer.
Spone allegedly found images of the cheerleaders they themselves online and doctored them.
She is being charged with three counts of cyber harassment of a child and three additional counts of harassment, according to legal documents from the Magisterial District Court in Pennsylvania.
One of the victim’s parents contacted the police back in July, after she told them she had received harassing texts from an unknown number, the Inquirer reported.
For that, she was charged with one count of cyber harassment of a child and another count of harassment, according to legal documents.
Other families told the police their daughters received similar messages, also from an anonymous texter. These girls were sent photos of themselves depicted in bikinis. The text accompanying those images said the girls were “drinking at the shore.”
Police, investigating the reports from concerned parents, traced the unknown numbers and tracked down Spone’s IP address. They then searched her phone and discovered evidence that indicated she was behind the harassing texts and videos, the Inquirer reported. The photos and videos were “deepfakes,” police said.
One parent whose child was a victim of Spone’s alleged manipulation and harassment said he was “pretty upset.”
George Ratel said he told his own daughter to avoid hanging out with Spone’s daughter, which he now believes may have angered or frustrated the mom.
“As a dad I was pretty upset about it,” Patel said. “It’s an image put out there of my daughter that is simply not true.”