A Pennsylvania woman is facing charges of cyber harassment of a child after local prosecutors said she sent out photos and videos of teen rivals on her daughter’s cheerleading team that were doctored to show them drinking, naked and smoking in an effort to get them booted from the squad.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the office of Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said 50-year-old Raffaela Spone is facing misdemeanor charges of cyber harassment for allegedly sending the images to her daughters teammates and their coaches.
The charges reportedly stem from doctored images and videos, also known as deepfakes, Spone sent from a fake number last year. She also sent texts telling her daughters teammates to commit suicide, according to the Inquirer.
Prosecutors said police were able to trace the number to a website that sells numbers to telemarketers. From there, they were reportedly able to track it to an IP address that was used in Spones home and later uncovered evidence on her phone.
Spone, who was charged last week, is reportedly scheduled for a preliminary hearing in the case later this month.
The coaches of the cheerleading team, Victory Vipers, said in a statement to ABC News that they have been cooperating with local police on the probe.
Victory Vipers has always promoted a family environment and we are sorry for all individuals involved. We have very well-established policies, and a very strict anti-bullying policy in our program, Mark McTague and Kelly Cramer told the network.
When this incident came to our attention last year we immediately initiated our own internal investigation and took the appropriate action at the time. This incident happened outside of our gym, they added.
The Inquirer reported there was no evidence to suggest Spone’s daughter was involved in the alleged wrongdoing.