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Cyberbullying case: B.C. teen the victim of persistent campaign of sextortion, trial hears


Warning: This story contains disturbing content

Prosecutors at the jury trial of a man charged in a cyberbullying case involving Port Coquitlam, B.C., teenager Amanda Todd told the court in an opening statement the 15-year-old was the victim of a persistent campaign of online sextortion.

On Monday, Dutch citizen Aydin Coban stood in a New Westminster courtroom and pleaded not guilty to five counts, including extortion, child luring, harassment and possession of child pornography.

Before her death by suicide in 2012, Amanda Todd posted a video online outlining allegations of bullying and blackmail.

Crown lawyer Louise Kenworthy told the court their theory is a “sextortionist” came into possession of explicit images of Todd exposing her breasts and with her hand inserted in her underwear, and tried to use that material to get the teenager to perform sex acts online. Kenworthy said they are alleging the person used 22 different user names and accounts to try and extort Todd, including on Facebook, Skype, YouTube, and through email.

“We intend to establish that the 22 user accounts were all established by the same person,” Kenworthy said.

Kenworthy shared examples of messages the Crown alleges were sent to Todd when she was between 12 and 15 years old. She told the court there were messages threatening to publicly distribute the explicit images of Todd if she did not agree to perform pornographic shows on webcam.

In one example the Crown alleged was from 2009, Todd was asked to “give me your Skype or I will send this video to all the Todd family”.

Kenworthy also shared messages the Crown alleges were exchanged with Todd on Skype in 2010.

Todd: "What do I have to do so you don’t show anyone"

Sender: "Once a week we just do fun stuff on cam is all"

Kenworthy also shared examples of messages Crown alleges were sent to Todd’s family, her high school, and hundreds of other people on Facebook, with links to the explicit content.

Kenworthy told the court the Crown alleges the sextortionist also used other accounts to try and befriend Todd and gather information about her.

Kenworthy said she expects the court will hear Todd changed schools in early 2011.

She also shared a message Crown alleges was sent to Todd through Facebook in the fall of 2011, which read in part: “I didn’t send the video the last time because I liked how you whined but as you know I have your new school, new schoolmates… You’ll go through the exact same thing all over or you can give me three shows and I will disappear forever. You know I won’t stop until you give me those three shows. If you go to a new school, new BF, new friends, new whatever, I will be there again.”


Todd’s mother Carol was the first witness called to testify, and told the court how her daughter was interested in cheerleading, art and singing, and also spent time on social media. Carol Todd said the teen took voice lessons and dreamed of being famous like Justin Bieber. She told the court her daughter also uploaded videos of herself singing online.

She testified about how she received a message about her daughter from someone she didn’t know on Facebook in December 2010, which included a link to a topless image of her daughter on an adult porn site.

“I clicked it and I saw what it was,” she told the court. “And I think my heart skipped a beat.”

She told the court she took a screenshot and printed it with the intent of contacting police, who showed up at her door later that night to do a safety check regarding a report about something online. Todd’s mother testified she told them her daughter was at her father’s house, and gave the printed image to police. She told the court a plan was made to have the family meet with police in the new year, to discuss what was happening.

However, she told the court the issue persisted.

“With each piece of messaging that she received, her distress increased,” Todd’s mother said. “Because at the time, she felt she was being followed, stalked by someone that was unknown.”

Speaking outside court, Carol Todd said it’s been "many long years" waiting for the trial to happen.

“For me, this is Amanda being able to share her voice. She made this happen,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed because the day is finally here.”

Carol Todd said she also hopes to share awareness and education for other parents “to talk to their kids."

“Last night I re-watched her YouTube video, and it was heartbreaking to see everything that she had gone through,” she said. “She wanted something to be done. And that’s why we’re here today…justice for Amanda.”

Todd’s mother also wore a snowflake pendant around her neck, to symbolize her daughter’s uniqueness and the strength of coming together to have a larger voice.

Coban was first charged in 2014, and was later extradited to Canada. The defence has not yet presented its case. Coban’s defence counsel Joe Saulnier told the media it is too early to say if Coban may testify, but asked the public to keep an open mind about his client.

“There’s no doubt that Amanda Todd was the victim of a lot of crimes,” he said. “This case is about who is behind that.”

He added Coban has been waiting a long time for the trial to start, and is “looking forward to finally having his day in court on these charges."

“There’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in these charges, and I know members of the public, they probably want blood,” Saulnier said. “This case is about whether the Crown can prove who’s behind the messages.”

The trial is scheduled for seven weeks. 


If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some resources that are available.

Canada Suicide Prevention Helpline (1-833-456-4566)

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (1 800 463-2338)

Crisis Services Canada (1-833-456-4566 or text 45645)

Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868)

If you need immediate assistance call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. Top Stories


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