Authorities Say 40 Teenage Girls' Innocent Selfies Were Turned Into Deepfake Pornography by Former Classmate
Patrick Carey targeted more than a dozen teen girls who had graduated from MacArthur High School in Levittown, New York, according to court documents obtained by Inside Edition Digital.
For years, celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and Kristen Bell have spoken out about the dangers of deepfake technology after discovering pornographic material online that was created with their images.
The incidents, in which their faces were imposed on other women's bodies to make it seem as though they appeared in pornographic images, appeared to be one uniquely affecting actors and others in the public eye.
But now, the technology has become easier to harness. And as a result, more and more women and girls have found themselves victims of this reprehensible act.
Australian activist Noelle Martin says that because of deepfake videos, she's been forced to explain herself to friends and family and employers. "It is a life sentence potentially for people who have to experience this," Martin says in an interview.
It is a pain that is now known by more than a dozen students after they graduated from one Long Island high school.
"It was hard to look at but I had to look at it," one of those victims tells Inside Edition.
She says her life was turned upside down after innocent selfies she posted on social media were deepfaked into sexual scenes.
"To humiliate us," she says of why it was done. "I think that's really what he wanted."
The "he" she refers to is Patrick Carey.
Carey targeted more than a dozen girls who he attended school with at MacArthur High School in Levittown, New York, according to court documents obtained by Inside Edition Digital.
He also allegedly posted identifying information about his victims, including their home addresses and cell phone numbers, and encouraged people to harass and threaten them with sexual violence.
Authorities arrested him in 2021 and in December 2022, he pleaded guilty to promotion of a sexual performance by a child, aggravated harassment in the second degree as a hate crime, stalking in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child.
"I would have never guessed it was him, at all," his victim says.
Her father is furious. "They're walking around with a picture of my daughter in their wallet," he says. "Mentally, she's gonna carry this the rest of her life."
Most shocking off all may be that Carey received just six months in prison, and it was only because he posted one real naked image of a victim who was underage. He will also be on probation for 10 years after his release and be required to register as a sex offender.
New York State currently has no criminal statutes addressing deepfaked or digitally manipulated images of a sexually explicit nature, leaving a significant loophole that can be exploited by child pornographers.
"Our laws have not kept up with technology," Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly tells Inside Edition. "You sit behind your computer, you remain anonymous and you torture other people. That's a cowardly act."
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