THE PUBLIC prosecutor in the province of Badajoz is now investigating as many as 26 schoolboys for their alleged involvement in the creation and distribution of deep-fake nude photos of female classmates. What’s more, the number of victims of these AI-generated images has now risen to 21.
Of the 26 minors being investigated in four of the five secondary schools in the municipality of Almendralejo, five are below the age of 14. This means that they cannot be prosecuted under the Criminal Code.
But, according to Spanish daily El Pais, they could still have to take courses related to gender violence and other similar issues if they are found to have broken the law.
The case came to light last month in the Extremadura region after one of the mothers of a schoolgirl affected took to Instagram to explain the situation.
Miriam Al Adib, who is a gynaecologist, said that when she first saw the doctored picture of her 14-year-old daughter, it was so realistic that her first thought was: “What have you done?!”
“The image is incredibly realistic, and as well as having gone viral between [schoolboys], it may have been uploaded to [pornographic] internet websites such as OnlyFans,” she told El Periodico de Extremadura.
Other mothers whose daughters had been affected by the faked photos came forward, and during the week of September 18 police reports were filed.
By September 21 investigators had identified 11 minors who were allegedly behind the creation and the distribution of the female students. In one case, the images were used in a crude attempt to extort one of the girls in question.
The public prosecutor in Badajoz is currently trying to determine the involvement of each of the suspects, who now number 26.
“We will have to see how each of them participated in the facts of the case because it is not the same thing to have received [the images] as it is to save or to make use of them sending them to third parties, which is why it is important to ascertain what was their role in the facts, which we have no doubt were criminal,” the senior prosecutor in Extremadura, Francisco Javier Montero, told El Periodico de Extremadura.
Among the charges that the suspects aged over 14 could be facing are child pornography offences.