WARNING: This article contains details of sexual extortion and may affect those who have experienced it or know someone affected by it.
A B.C. RCMP officer testified Monday in the trial of the Dutch man accused of sexually extorting Amanda Todd that the Port Coquitlam teenager wanted the harassing messages she was receiving to stop.
Const. Robin Sedgman told B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster that she met with Todd and her parents on several occasions in 2011 because of the messages the teen was receiving through her social media accounts.
“She wanted it to go away. She wanted it to stop.”
Todd took her own life in 2012 at the age of 15 after being exploited online over a period of three years.
Dutch national Aydin Coban, 44, has pleaded not guilty to five criminal charges relating to Todd’s case, including extortion, possession of child pornography and child luring. He is not charged with Todd’s death.
Sedgman said she first met with Todd and her parents, Carol and Norman, at a B.C. police station to discuss the messages the teenager was receiving, including where the attached videos and pictures had come from.
The RCMP officer also shared advice about how Todd could stay safe online. She said the teenager seemed “annoyed” to be talking to the police and “didn’t seem overly concerned with what was happening.”
Police visits to father’s house
On Jan. 3, 2011, Sedgman and RCMP Const. Andrea Schadeck — who also testified in the trial — went to Norman Todd’s residence in Maple Ridge to meet with him and Amanda.
Sedgman testified that while the officers were there, Amanda signed into her Facebook account to show them the messages she was receiving from a profile with the name Tyler Boo and printed them off.
She said that again, Todd wasn’t receptive to suggestions that she delete her social media accounts or at least limit her Facebook friends list to people she knew personally. According to Sedgman, the teenager said she did not feel threatened by the messages at the time.
The two female officers, who both worked as investigators in the sex crimes unit, went to Norman Todd’s home a second time on Oct. 26, 2011.
This time, Schadeck went up to Amanda’s room to speak with her privately.
“She looked more sad than anything else,” Schadeck testified Monday.
The officer told the court she spoke to Todd about how social media can be used to track a user’s location. She said the long conversation gave her the impression that the teenager was very lonely.
Video links sent to police
In early November 2011, Sedgman said she received information from an officer in Maple Ridge that an email had been sent to members of the school Amanda Todd was attending at the time.
The email contained four hyperlinks to videos and photos where the 15-year-old was exposing her chest.
Sedgman testified that in one of the videos, Todd appeared to be having a conversation with someone about whether or not she should expose herself before then lifting up her shirt and showing her breasts to the camera for approximately 10 seconds.
The investigation was handed over to Schadeck in November.
Schadeck testified she called the Todd family that month to tell them the B.C. RCMP’s child exploitation unit had been unable to track down the IP addresses the messages and emails were coming from.
She again talked to Amanda about her online and physical safety and advised her to delete her social media accounts. Schadeck said the teenager was still unhappy with this suggestion but, by the end of the phone call, had agreed she would delete her Facebook profile the next time she had internet access.
The trial is expected to last another three weeks.
Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.
If you or someone you know is struggling, here’s where to get help:
Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566 (phone) | 45645 (text).
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (phone), live chat counselling on the website.
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre.
This guide from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health outlines how to talk about suicide with someone you’re worried about.