Mother Arrested After Creating ‘Deepfake’ Images Showing Teen Daughter’s Cheerleader Rivals Naked, Drinking

A Pennsylv mother has been arrested after sending doctored images of her teenage daughter’s cheerleading rivals to her coaches, as well as sending those rivals threatening messages.

PennLive reported that Raffaela Spone, 50, was “charged with two misdemeanors, Hilltown Township Police officers said. Spone is facing three counts of cyber harassment of a child and three counts of harassment.”“The suspect is alleged to have taken a real picture and edited it through some photoshopping app to make it look like this teenaged girl had no clothes on to appear nude, when in reality that picture was a screengrab from the teenager’s social media in which she had a bathing suit on,” said Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub.

Last year, a police investigation determined that Spone had sent the teenagers threatening text messages as well, including urging the young girls “to kill themselves,” the girls told police.

Police were contacted last July by the parents of one of Spone’s teenage victims, saying they and their cheerleading coaches had received text messages with images of the young girls naked, drinking, and smoking vape, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The images Spone allegedly made were of at least three members of the traveling cheerleading squad known as Victory Vipers. The parents also said they received harassing text messages, all from an anonymous number. The parents contacted police because they believed the fake images and videos could get their daughter kicked off the team.Two more families came forward once police began investigating. Other victims were sent photos of themselves in bikinis with the caption “drinking at the shore.”

“After analyzing the videos, detectives determined they were ‘deepfakes’ — digitally altered but realistic looking images — created by mapping the girls’ social media photos onto other images,” the Inquirer reported. “Detectives traced the phone numbers to a website specializing in selling them to telemarketers, and followed the data to an IP address that showed activity from within Spone’s house in Chalfont. After searching Spone’s smartphone, detectives found evidence linking her to the numbers used to send the harassing texts and images, the affidavit said.”

Police believe Spone took action against the girls after their parents told them to stop hanging out with Spone’s daughter over concerns about her behavior, in an attempt to get the other teenagers kicked off the team. George Ratel, the father of one of Spone’s alleged victims, told the Inquirer he was dismayed by the situation and how it affected the team.

“I don’t know what would push her to this point,” Ratel told the outlet. “As a dad I was pretty upset about it. It’s an image put out there of my daughter that is simply not true.”

At this time, it appears Spone’s daughter had no idea this was happening.

Spone was released following her ase on the condition she appear for a preliminary hearing set for March 30. The Inquirer reported it does not appear she has hired an attorney yet.

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