Amanda Todd’s mom relieved after Dutch man sentenced

Hopes for Canadian trial

WINNIPEG — The mother of a 15-year-old Canadian girl whose suicide drew global attention to online abuse says she’s relieved and joyful after the man accused of tormenting her was sentenced to 11 years in prison by a Dutch court in a separate case.

Carol Todd, whose daughter Amanda Todd killed herself, said she’s happy Aydin Coban was given the maximum sentence on Thursday for cyberbullying dozens of young girls and gay men.

“I am grateful to the judges that they looked over all evidence and the testimony and realized that this person was guilty,” she said in an interview from Winnipeg. “I am saddened that someone has to go through those behaviours in order to bring joy to himself.”

The court in the Netherlands convicted the 38-year-old man for fraud and blackmail via the Internet, according to a statement from Dutch legal authorities.

It gave him the maximum possible sentence of 10 years and eight months, “because of the devastating consequences his behaviour has on the young lives of the girls” in particular, and out of fear that he could commit new offences if released, the statement said.

He pretended to be a boy or girl and persuaded his victims to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam, then posted the images online or blackmailed them by threatening to do so. He was accused of abusing 34 girls and five gay men, behaviour the court called “astonishing.” In some cases, the abuse lasted years.

Under Dutch privacy laws the man at trial is only identified as Aydin C.

An Associated Press story from the Netherlands on Thursday reported Aydin C is the same man charged in the Amanda Todd case and that a Dutch court has approved the man’s extradition following his trial there. He has appealed that decision and denies involvement in any cyberbullying.

The RCMP charged Coban in 2014 with extortion, importing or distributing child pornography, possessing child pornography and child luring.

Amanda Todd brought cyberbullying to mainstream attention by posting a video on YouTube in which she told her story with handwritten signs, describing how she was lured by a stranger to expose her breasts on a webcam.

The picture ended up on a Facebook page made by the stranger, and she was repeatedly bullied, despite changing schools. She took her own life at her home in Port Coquitlam, B.C., in 2012, weeks after posting the video.

The Justice Department said Coban would not be extradited before the completion of the Dutch criminal proceedings, including appeals.

Carol Todd said she’s confident Coban will eventually face trial on the Canadian charges and she’s willing to wait.

“It’s been seven years and Amanda is no longer with us,” she said. “I can afford to wait as long as we get the right end result.”

She said it’s important for the trial to be held in Canada, because while her family has supporters all over the world, the case hits close to home for Canadians.

“There’s a lot of people who are looking for some satisfaction to this story, the end result, so it’s not only for me. It’s for all those others who have followed it and felt deeply about it for whatever reason. Amanda’s story has touched the hearts of many.”

— With files from The Associated Press

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