VANCOUVER – Amanda Todd’s mother, Carol, fought back tears and wiped her eyes through a news conference Thursday afternoon about a man being arrested in connection with the online bullying of Amanda Todd.
It was revealed on Thursday that a 35-year-old man living in the Netherlands was arrested in January. Five charges have now been laid against him by BC Crown Counsel, including one count of Internet luring and one count of possession of child pornography, among others.
“This is truly a day that we’ve been waiting for,” said Carol Todd. “I always knew deep in my heart that what my daughter told was the truth.”
The man, who RCMP have not named to protect the integrity of the Dutch investigation, reportedly pressured his victims, including Amanda, to perform sexual acts on webcam and recorded the images.
Court documents have identified the man as 35-year-old Aydin Coban, a Dutch national of Turkish descent.
The National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre said the investigation involves victims from Canada and internationally and there are several countries and police agencies involved. The majority of victims identified in Canada were children.
Insp. Paulette Friell, with the Coquitlam RCMP, said they launched an investigation in December 2010 that Amanda was being harassed and extorted in person and online. However, due to the nature of the investigation they could not share most of the details with the public, or even Amanda’s family.
WATCH: Full RCMP press conference here
“We respect that while this is a significant development this judicial process has just started,” said Carol.
More than 30 officers in B.C. worked on the Amanda Todd case and Friell said she was proud that the team “never stopped working for Amanda.” The investigation spanned three-and-a-half years and included local, provincial, national and international components.
Carol hopes Amanda’s story continues to educate and create awareness.
“Amanda’s story and the challenges that she has faced has touched many across the world and continues to touch many across the world,” she said.
“I hope it will lead to more education and more awareness against those who commit crimes against children and youth.”
WATCH: Amanada’s parents, Carol and Norm, speak about the arrest
Speaking briefly, Amanda’s father, Norm said “hopefully we can get some justice out of [these developments]”.
Global News spoke to Dutch newspaper reporter Mathijs Pennings from Omroep Brabant. He was one of the journalists who broke the story and said “they got it from a reliable source that we know, for a fact, he is linked to the Amanda Todd case.”
The suspects’ lawyer described the man as someone who “has lived in trailer parks for the last few years and is very isolated. He has no wife or children.”
Friell said while today there were significant developments made in the case this is not the end.
[Amanda’s] story touched all of us,” she said. “This story is not over.”
Amanda was living in Port Coquitlam and was only 15 years old when she committed suicide in October 2012.
Before she took her life she posted a video on YouTube about her struggles and that has now been seen by millions around the world.
If anyone feels they are a victim of cyber-bullying or have information about these types of offenses, they are asked to contact police or report abuse to cybertip.ca.
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