British Columbia·Q&A

Amanda Todd's mom reflects on decade-long struggle to bring her daughter's tormentor to justice

After a long and complicated nine-week trial, Carol Todd's long wait for justice for her daughter finally came to an end on Saturday.

Carol Todd says she wants to work on getting sexual extortion into the Criminal Code

Amanda Todd’s mother, Carol Todd, speaks to media following a morning of jury deliberations prior to Aydin Coban's guilty verdict. (Justine Boulin/CBC)

WARNING: This article contains details of sexual extortion and may affect those who have experienced it or know someone affected by it.

After a long and complicated nine-week trial, Carol Todd's long wait for justice for her daughter, Amanda, is over.

Dutch national Aydin Coban was convicted of extortion, child luring, criminal harassment and two counts of child pornography against Amanda Todd on Saturday, Aug 6.

Todd spoke to the CBC's Gloria Macarenko on The Early Edition on Monday.

The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.


Well, a six-week trial. Years and years of living with this story. How are you feeling? How are you feeling today?

Well, it was actually a nine-week trial. It started on June 6. The adrenaline is sort of wearing off, and it's sinking in a lot deeper. I was determined to be in the courtroom every single day, and I made it every single day. Hearing all the details and seeing the evidence, it just stunned me, even though I knew a lot of it —  what Amanda must have gone through since she was 12. 

As you point out, you were there in the courtroom every single day of the testimony. What was it like being there while each guilty charge was read out? 

It's very emotional. I had no idea what I was going to feel at the time. I had stated earlier in the week that I couldn't get my hopes up at the high bar just in case we heard something that we didn't want to hear.

So when I did hear the guilty counts, it was pure happiness, but not pure happiness. It was bittersweet because this was Amanda's voice that spoke out to all of us. She put her video out there.

She told her story. It was part of her testimony. In the court, it was reiterated to the jury that Amanda wasn't able to be in court for reasons that we know, so she couldn't be cross-examined at all. 

It was 10 years ago that you and I sat down in your home in Port Coquitlam. We talked about Amanda. We talked about how she fought back, and we talked about what parents need to know about online safety. I just want you to listen to a little of that conversation. 

Was there ever a point when you're realizing that this menace is coming from the internet that you just say, turn it off, shut it off, make it go away?

She did shut it off, and through the advisement of the RCMP, we did take all technologies away from her for a while. She had access to her phone, but she didn't have data on it.

She shut off her Facebook and turned off her YouTube account, and that was for about a period of six months. She wasn't happy with us. Did it make it go away? No, because after we allowed her to bring it back, gradually something happened where the person found her again. 

Amanda Todd's mother continues fight to keep kids safe

2 months ago
Duration 4:47
WARNING: This video contains distressing details | Amanda Todd's mother, Carol Todd, says her fight to keep kids safe continues, despite her relief at the conviction of the man who sexually extorted her daughter.

Again, Carol, that's a conversation you and I had 10 years ago in your home, just talking about the impact on your family. What goes through your mind when you hear that? 

Well, that was 10 years ago that we talked about it, and it was 12, 13 years ago that it started happening to Amanda. 

Most of the predation was occurring through Skype, Facebook, YouTube messaging, and the key thing to remind us all about is the messaging aspect of social media platforms and how today it's so ever-present that we communicate through our devices that we need to still and even more so now, put those boundaries around our children and talk to them about the internet. 

If Amanda hadn't made that YouTube video sharing her story and having it go global virally, I'm not sure we would be sitting here having this discussion right now. 

What does it mean to you? Law enforcement in Canada, law enforcement in the Netherlands found that person and brought him to justice. 

I listened to all the testimony and all the witnesses that came in from the Netherlands to share what they had found back in 2013, 2014, before Mr. Coban was arrested. It was just amazing to hear how in-depth they had done their investigation.

However, their investigation was also built on the trial that occurred in 2017 against Mr. Coban and where he got 10 years and eight months for victimizing multiple young girls and adult gay men and extorted them and threatened them.

We only heard about seven devices in our trial that were found, but in total, they were 27 devices that were found for the mass victimization. Something like 220,000 photos found on his computers, 2,500 for friends and family profiles of his other victims, probably including Amanda. 

Well, Coban, he has appealed his other convictions in the Netherlands. What do you know about his options in this case?

Well, watching other media broadcasts, his defence lawyers said they are looking at different options. They haven't said that they would appeal. They said they were going to meet Mr. Coban and discuss options. So we'll see.

Mr. Coban did appeal in the Netherlands, and that came to trial in 2018, and it was refuted. Then he did another appeal of that one, but he cancelled that appeal so he could be extradited here. 

So we have guilty verdicts. Coban's sentencing hearing is going to take place Aug. 11. What's next for you, Carol?

Well, what really concerned me during the trial, and I was permanently writing notes, is how little or no case law there is regarding sextortion cases in Canada, right? Sextortion isn't in the Criminal Code, so I want to do some more digging into how we can possibly get sextortion into the Criminal Code. 

In a precedent-setting case, a BC jury has found Dutch citizen Ayden Coban guilty of extortion, two counts of child pornography, child luring and criminal harassment regarding the late BC teen Amanda Todd. We spoke with her mother about the verdict.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, here's where to get help:

This guide from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health outlines how to talk about suicide with someone you're worried about.

Police also suggest the following to avoid falling victim to sexual extortion:

  • Never answer video calls from people you don't know.
  • If you mistakenly connect with someone you don't know over live stream, immediately hang up.
  • Always answer video calls with the camera turned off until you know the identity of the person calling.

Anyone who finds themselves targeted should immediately stop communicating with the suspected scammer and report it to police. Child exploitation can be reported online at www.cybertip.ca.

Police also say victims should not comply with threats, and should keep records of any correspondence with the perpetrator.

With files from The Early Edition

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