A Pennsylvania mother accused of bullying a few of her daughter’s cheerleading teammates was convicted by a jury Friday of 3 counts of harassment.
Raffaela Spone, 51, frequently identified in information tales as the “cheer mom,” allegedly qualified three teenage girls for harassment, generally by way of texts from unidentified or blocked numbers, Hilltown Township law enforcement mentioned.
Some of the behavior explained in texts or demonstrated in imagery could have been enough to kick the focused teenagers off the cheerleading squad, authorities explained last year.
Spone’s protection claimed it was by no means demonstrated that the texts and imagery arrived from Spone, and argued that whoever sent it may perhaps have acted in very good religion to tell the girls’ mother and father about their conduct, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s account of the trial’s finish.
Spone’s legal professional, Robert Birch, did not promptly react to a request for comment.
The young adults, as perfectly as Spone’s daughter, have been customers of the Victory Vipers, a non-public, nonacademic cheerleading crew in Doylestown. The small business claimed in a statement final 12 months that it “has always promoted a loved ones surroundings and we are sorry for all folks included.”
The names of the victims and their dad and mom have been withheld by officers.
Authorities originally alleged Spone used “deep pretend” video manipulation technologies to make it look as if at least 1 teammate was misbehaving.
A 17-calendar year-outdated girl, just one of the case’s three victims, alleged previous 12 months that movie of her vaping and a photo of her nude were fraudulent. The teammate also mentioned Spone despatched her a number of text messages, which includes just one that instructed she should really dedicate suicide.
Her mom documented the allegations to the Hilltown Township Police Division, which responded by kicking off an investigation in July 2020.
In Could 2021, the Bucks County District Attorney’s business backed off its original allegations that the defendant utilized “deep fake” computer software.
The circumstance at some point only bundled a few straight-forward counts of misdemeanor harassment in the 3rd degree. Three other counts related to the allegations of manipulation ended up not thought of at trial.
District Legal professional Matt Weintraub alleged in his May possibly assertion that even with out the sensational deep fake allegations, Spone “despatched pics, videos and texts intended to harass a few innocent children.”
Law enforcement investigators stated the texts and media at the center of the case were being sent in summer months 2020 and alleged they described the cheerleaders as possessing “poisonous qualities” this kind of as consuming, using tobacco, or shelling out also much time with boys. The DA’s office explained last calendar year some of the texts bundled images of the girls that were being paired with “cruel captions.”
Police claimed they experienced tracked the texts to a unique IP deal with dependable with Spone’s site. At least some of the texts came from Spone’s cellphone, the department stated.
Under Pennsylvania regulation, harassment in the 3rd degree can include things like regularly sending messages anonymously and utilizing the web to harass a boy or girl. Each individual of the three counts carry a optimum sentence of one calendar year in jail. A sentencing day has not been scheduled.
On Friday, Weintraub reiterated his lengthy-held assertion that Spone broke the legislation irrespective of what engineering was involved.
“The jury heard the details proving Ms. Spone’s guilt,” he reported via a spokesperson. “They turned down her total protection, and appropriately found her guilty of criminally harassing three teenage victims. The justice program has worked as it should.”
If you or an individual you know is in disaster, simply call the Countrywide Suicide Avoidance Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text House to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for added means.