British Columbia teenager Amanda Todd said on Facebook that a “pedophile” had been blackmailing her for years, as she warned people about an account she said the perpetrator operated, a Crown attorney told B.C. Supreme Court.
In closing arguments at the trial of Dutchman Aydin Coban, Kristen LeNoble told the jury that Todd made the post shortly before receiving a message from another Facebook user demanding she perform sexual “shows” on camera, or videos of her exposing her breasts would be sent to her family and classmates.
The teenager from Port Coquitlam, B.C., had recently moved in with her father in a nearby community and started attending a new school, LeNoble said.
Coban has pleaded not guilty to extortion, harassment, communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence and possessing child pornography.
LeNoble began closing arguments Tuesday by telling the jurors the Crown would spend the next few days helping them “unpack” the significant amount of evidence, including testimony from more than 30 witnesses and binders full of 80 exhibits.
By the time they were finished, she said, the Crown would have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Coban was the person behind 22 separate online aliases used to extort Todd over several years before she died almost a decade ago.
Some of the messages feigned support and tried to build a trusting relationship with Todd, while others threatened to ruin her life, LeNoble told the jury.
LeNoble showed the jury a message the harasser sent to Todd’s family and school administrators while posing as a member of a child protection agency, which included a link to a pornography website displaying a video of the teenager.
She described how another alias on Facebook was used to send messages with the same link to 99 users from Todd’s friends list on the social networking site.
The harassment began just before Todd turned 13 in November 2009, she said.
“Enough nice-guy act,” said LeNoble, reading from one of the messages where the harasser threatened to publicly distribute a video of Todd exposing her breasts.
“You’re gonna do as you are told … I already have 17 people in your family, 52 schoolmates and teachers of your school through their official site. I can send them this instant, together with child protection agencies, who will go after you,” she read.
“Your life will never be the same … Or you do as I say, and after 10 shows, where you do as I say, I disappear, like nothing happened,” read the message that LeNoble called a “real sledgehammer of a harassing, extorting and luring message.”
Crown prosecutor Louise Kenworthy told the jury at the start of the trial almost two months ago that Todd had been the victim of a persistent campaign of online “sextortion” over three years before her death at age 15 in October 2012.
Carol Todd testified that her daughter was scared when she brought messages to her attention, and Amanda’s distress increased with each incident.
LeNoble showed the jury a message Amanda had sent to her cousin and other people she knew after the video of her exposing her breasts had been distributed.
In the message, Amanda said she had “flashed” about “200 guys” on YouTube the year before because they were “begging” and she “thought it wouldn’t matter.”
The message shows the teenager then wrote she had “wrecked” her life with that video because of the harassment and extortion that followed.
By Brenna Owen