A man who extorted Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old who posted a viral video about being blackmailed with compromising photos before committing suicide, was sentenced to 13 years in prison
- Aydin Coban, a 44-year-old Dutch man, was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Friday for extorting Amanda Todd.
- Todd committed suicide in 2012 after posting a viral YouTube video detailing online harassment against her.
Aydin Coban, a 44-year-old Dutch man who extorted Amanda Todd before she committed suicide ten years ago, was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Friday.
Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old Canadian girl who posted a viral video to YouTube in 2012 detailing her experience of being cyberbullied and harassed after someone threatened to expose compromising photos of her to her friends and family. Todd committed suicide on October 10, 2012, just over a month after she posted the video which currently has more than 14 million views.
After Todd's death, the online term "todding" was coined to refer to abuse campaigns against people online. People exposed to these campaigns, often teens, can experience stress, depression, and anxiety attacks, Vincent F Hendricks, a professor at the Center for Information and Bubble Studies at the University of Copenhagen wrote.
British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin sentenced Coban to 13 years in prison on Friday after he was convicted in August on two counts of possession of child pornography, child luring, and criminal harassment.
Todd's mother, Carol Todd, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that the sentence was a "breathtaking moment" after the court hearing.
"As breathtaking as August 6 when I heard the five guilty counts," Todd told CBC.
Coban used 22 different aliases to message Todd on Facebook, YouTube, and Skype, more than 700 times and demanded webcam shows, threatening to expose compromising photos of her to her loved ones, Devlin said according to CBC.
"When Amanda refused to comply with his demands, Mr. Coban made good on his threats," Devlin said, according to CBC.
Devlin said in court that Amanda Todd was courageous to share her story with the world in her YouTube video while handing down her sentence, according to Canadian network CP24.
"I have heard her voice," Devlin said in court according to CP24. "I have considered Amanda's words as expressed through her video and through messages she sent when she was alive."
Devlin said that she was moved by impact statements from Todd's parents and added that they were secondary victims of Koban's extortion, CP24 reported. Devlin said that Coban "deliberately took advantage of a young girl" and "went to significant lengths to obtain information about Amanda and her family members, teachers and peers so he could maximize the number of people to whom he could distribute the images and videos."
"She could not escape the images or videos. It was a 'never-ending story,"' Devlin said, quoting from Todd's video she posted in 2012, according to CP24.
If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or has had thoughts of harming themself or taking their own life, get help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (dial 988) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations. Help is also available through the Crisis Text Line — just text "HOME" to 741741. For lawyer-specific inquiries, you can find confidential, live assistance through Lawyer Assistance Programs offered through your state bar, as well as through the Lawyers Depression Project.
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