The mother of B.C. teenager Amanda Todd is raising money to travel to the Netherlands early next month for the trial of a Dutch man who has also been charged in Canada in the death of her 15-year-old daughter. Amanda took her own life in 2012 after she was sexually exploited online.
Aydin Coban was charged in his home country over the alleged use of webcam video that included sexual content to blackmail up to 39 victims from various countries, many of them underage. He subsequently faces extradition to Canada in the Amanda Todd case.
The teen committed suicide after a nude photo of her surfaced online and was spread among her Facebook friends. Police later alleged they traced the source of the photo to the Netherlands.
Her mother, Carol Todd, initially said she hadn't planned to attend the trial in the Netherlands, since it doesn't directly involve her daughter's case and she didn't want to take attention away from the other victims. However, she changed her mind.
"As the trial date approaches, and as I read more about online safety, it becomes more important that I need to be there to get myself prepared for the trial that would happen in Canada," Ms. Todd said in an interview Friday.
More importantly, the trip to the Netherlands could be her only chance to see the man accused of being responsible for her daughter's death.
"If there is any reason the trial in Canada just doesn't happen, I don't want to give up that chance to be able to see this person," she said. "I don't know, nobody knows. Things happen [the way] they [are supposed to] happen."
The trial is expected to start January, 25.
Shortly after Mr. Coban was charged in the Netherlands in 2014, the RCMP announced charges in the Todd case: extortion, importing or distributing child pornography, possessing child pornography, luring a child under 18 via computer and criminal harassment.
Canadian prosecutors sought his extradition, which a Dutch court approved last year. However, Mr. Coban's previous lawyer has said it could take at least until the middle of 2018 for that to happen, as the trial and subsequent appeals in the Netherlands run their course.
As of Friday afternoon, more than $7,000 had been raised. The fundraising page lists a goal of $10,000. "The money will be spent on airfare, accommodations, transportation, meals and other costs," she wrote on her crowdfunding blog. Any leftover funds will go to "support other organizations that will benefit young people in need."
Amanda's story drew international attention after a YouTube video surfaced of her recounting her experiences. Her case helped spur Ottawa to pass anti-bullying legislation that criminalized the distribution of intimate images without consent. The law came into effect in March of 2015.
Dutch police arrested Mr. Coban at his rented Oisterwijk bungalow in January, 2014, after monitoring Internet activity at his home for several months.
In a letter sent to media outlets in 2015, Mr. Coban insisted he lived nowhere near Oisterwijk at the time Amanda was being harassed, and characterized Facebook's investigative work as "poorly founded and incomplete."
With reports from The Canadian Press