Dutch man arrested in connection with Amanda Todd case: RCMP
Published Thursday, April 17, 2014 3:50PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:00PM EDT
A Dutch man is facing extortion and child pornography charges in connection with the online bullying case of British Columbia teenager Amanda Todd, who died by suicide in 2012.
The Coquitlam RCMP confirmed Thursday that a 35-year-old Dutch citizen was arrested in the Netherlands in January. He is facing a number of charges, including extortion, internet luring, criminal harassment and possession of child pornography.
Todd, 15, was found dead in October 2012, weeks after she detailed the online harassment and bullying she suffered in a YouTube video, using flashcards to tell her story.
The teen’s mother, Carol Todd, said Thursday she is relieved that an arrest has been made.
“This is truly a day that we’ve been waiting for,” she said at a news conference.
The RCMP did not reveal the identity of the man accused of extorting Todd online, citing the Dutch judicial process.
Insp. Paulette Freill said the RCMP has been working diligently on Todd’s case, which has “touched millions and millions of people around the world.”
The Dutch National Public Prosecutor's Office has confirmed the arrest, saying it believes there may be dozens of other victims in different countries.
A news release from the Dutch prosecutor’s office said the man was arrested in January and is suspected of encouraging underage girls in several countries, including the U.S., the U.K. and the Netherlands, to perform sexual acts in front of a web camera.
The man is also suspected of posing as an underage boy and encouraging men to perform sexual acts on webcam, then blackmailing them by threatening to give the images to the police, the news release said.
The man's lawyer, Christian van Dijk, said he doesn't believe there’s enough evidence to convict his client. He said his client’s computer may have been hacked.
The YouTube video Todd posted before her death has since been viewed more than 17 million times. Freill said the teen’s death has changed the way society and police talk about social media and online bullying.
Todd’s mother said she hopes people will draw lessons from the tragedy.
“It is my hope and our hope that Amanda’s legacy will continue to move forward,” she said.
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press