Bucks County mother gets probation in harassment case involving daughter's cheerleading rivals

Katie Katro Image
Thursday, June 9, 2022
Raffaela Spone

DOYLESTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A 51-year-old mother in Bucks County, Pennsylvania was sentenced Monday to three years of probation for harassing her daughter's cheerleading rivals, according to authorities.

Earlier this year, Raffaela Spone, also known Raffaela Innella, was found guilty on charges of harassment. Charges of cyber harassment were withdrawn on the first day of her trial.

Spone was accused of using anonymous numbers to text harassing messages about the girls.

The messages allegedly included screenshots and videos of the girls' social media posts, which included vaping and underage drinking.

While investigators originally believed at least one video showed evidence of the use of so-called Deep Fake face replacement technology, prosecutors were unable to confirm the video evidence was falsified.

"While the original assessment that some of the evidence was created by media manipulation may not end up being accurate, a neutral finder of fact will ultimately have the opportunity to determine if the evidence in this case shows Ms. Spone sent photos, videos and texts designed to harass three innocent children. Judge Armitage's decision shows she was satisfied the Commonwealth's evidence met the necessary initial burden," said District Attorney Weintraub last year.

On Monday, the court of Common Pleas Judge Brian T. McGuffin sentenced Spone to three years of probation, with a nightly curfew by GPS monitoring for the first three months of the sentence. Seventy-two hours of community service must be completed in the first six months of the sentence, and she must pay $3,755.25 in restitution to the three victims during the first 12 months of the sentence.

Spone must also undergo a mental health evaluation, and have no contact with the victims or their families, direct or indirect. She will also have limitations on her computer/smartphone usage, to be determined by Adult Probation.

Spone's lawyer, Robert J. Birch, told Action News, "We're exploring all options for an appeal, including the sentencing."