Teen and mother speak out after alleged AI-generated photos sent around high school

"It's just not right," the 14-year-old told "GMA."

November 6, 2023, 4:06 PM

A teen girl and her mother are speaking out after a high school student allegedly used artificial intelligence to create nude images of her and other girls, which were then shared with a group of classmates.

Francesca Mani, 14, learned about the images in October, when she was called into her principal's office at Westfield High School and told she was one of the victims of fake artificial intelligence-generated nude photos that were created by a male classmate.

"I realized I should not be sad, but I should be mad. So, I came home, and I told my mom, and I told her that we have to do something about this because it is unfair to girls, and it's just not right," Francesca, a sophomore, told "Good Morning America."

Dorota Mani, Francesca's mother, told "GMA" she was shocked when she first heard of the incident, but then jumped into action.

"My initial feeling, obviously, was shock to hear such a thing from your daughter," Mani recalled.

PHOTO: Westfield High School in Westfield, N.J.
Westfield High School in Westfield, N.J.

Mani said she filed a police report and reached out to an official at Francesca's school, who informed her the photos had been distributed via Snapchat.

"[The official] also mentioned that I should not worry because Snapchat only lasts for three to five seconds, which we all know you can save it, you can screenshot it, somebody else can take a picture of that picture," Mani said.

Mani said she believes the alleged fake AI-generated images were shared over the summer between several boys, who are Westfield students, but said the school didn't find out about it until recently.

Westfield High School Principal Mary Asfendis sent a letter to parents recently, writing in part, "Students brought to our attention that some of our students had used Artificial Intelligence to create pornographic images from original photos … At this time, we believe that any created images have been deleted and are not being circulated. This is a very serious incident. We are continuing to investigate."

According to Dorota and Francesca Mani, only one male schoolmate has served a short suspension related to the incident, and they say he has since returned to school.

"I just feel very uncomfortable and very scared," Francesca said. "A lot of other girls agree with me. We just don't think it's right that he's walking the hallways."

The Manis say they have not seen the fake AI-generated images and don't know of any other alleged victims who have seen them. ABC News has not been able to confirm whether these images exist.

New Jersey has strict laws against sexually explicit depictions of minors, including fake images, according to experts.

"The fact that the perpetrators are minors might mean that there's leniency here or certain types of attempts to keep them out of the incarceration system, but that wouldn't mean that they could not be punished at all," Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at George Washington University, told "GMA."

Mani said this incident is a reminder to talk to children.

"This is a moment where we should be teaching our girls and Westfield High School that they're worth it to fight for. What has happened [is] not OK, and we should be teaching our boys that there will be consequences," Mani said.

Westfield High School is also encouraging parents to talk to kids about what they are posting, saving and sharing on social media.