Amanda Todd's mom crowdfunding costs to attend Netherlands trial
Coquitlam, B.C., teenager Amanda Todd posted a video online about being bullied before taking her own life on Oct. 10, 2012. (Facebook)
The mother of a B.C. teen who died by suicide is trying to raise money so she can attend a trial of a Dutch man accused of cyberbullying her daughter.
Aydin Coban is facing child pornography and extortion charges involving 39 people in the Netherlands. He also faces extradition to Canada, when the trial is over, on five charges connected to the death of Amanda Todd.
The 15-year-old Port Coquitlam resident died by suicide in October 2012, a month after posting a video on YouTube explaining how she was blackmailed, bullied, and beat up.
Coban was arrested in the Netherlands in April 2014 in connection with several extortion cases, including Todd's.
Dutch authorities initially planned to lay charges in connection with Todd's death, but later decided they would only pursue charges for Dutch victims.
Coban denied the allegations in an open letter written in jail and released by his lawyer in 2015, writing: "I'm not the so-called tormentor of Miss Amanda Todd or of anyone else for that matter."
He wrote that there had been "many blatant lies" surrounding the case, that he'd been confined for crimes he hadn't committed but "the worldwide media and their audience have been branding me as the monster behind it."
Officials with the B.C. RCMP are still going forward with charges including extortion, criminal harassment, internet luring and child pornography.
Todd's mother, Carol, has made numerous media appearances since her daughter's death cautioning others about the dangers of bullying.
After waiting more than four years for Todd's alleged tormentor to face Canadian courts, Carol decided to travel to the Netherlands to observe Coban's trial for the other victims. After several delays, the trial is slated to begin at the end of the month.
"As the time got closer, and as I heard information about the upcoming extradition, my heart felt that I needed to be there to prepare myself for what would happen when Mr. Coban came to Canada," Carol told CTV News on Thursday.
She also wants to be there to support the families of other victims going through similar situations.
"They're going through exactly what we went through, but I'm so happy that none of them have the ending that our family had to go through," she said.
She said the European trial is a reminder that there's "no safe place on the internet… There are no walls and boundaries anymore."
Carol warned that people need to be careful of who they associate with on the internet, and what kind of information they give out, and parents need to be wary of who kids are communicating with online.
But a trip to the Netherlands can be expensive, so Carol is trying to raise $10,000 to help cover her expenses while overseas. In the first 72 hours, the online fundraiser brought in $5,700 through donors, with many posting messages of support.
She said the money will go toward airfare, accommodations, transportation, meals and other costs. She wrote that she also plans to bring along her significant other for support, as she knows it will be challenging to face the man accused in her daughter's case.
Any leftover funds will go to "support other organizations that will benefit young people in need."
On Facebook, Carol wrote that she was already overwhelmed by the amount of financial and emotional support she'd received since starting the fundraising campaign.
"Love you all and love Amanda," she wrote.