Two former Coquitlam Mounties took the stand today (July 4) in the fifth week of the “sextortion” trial involving Port Coquitlam student Amanda Todd.
Const. Robin Sedgman, who is now with the Kelowna RCMP, and retired constable Andrea Schadeck testified about their meetings and communication with Todd family after Amanda received disturbing messages online in 2010 and 2011.
Sedgman told Justice Martha Devlin and the 12-person jury at BC Supreme Court in New Westminster that she was part of the detachment’s sex crimes unit when she learned about a complaint from Todd’s mother, Carol, about a Dec. 22, 2010, message she received from a Facebook user named Alice McAllister.
That message, which was shown as an exhibit to the jury, claimed the writer was part of an independent child protection service raising concerns about Amanda’s online activities and posted hyperlinks to motherless.com, a porn website, where Amanda was seen flashing her breasts and reaching into her pants.
Sedgman testified she investigated the links, as well as Amanda’s YouTube account that had also been flooded with “threatening” messages from a user named Whatsthisman11, the court heard.
The YouTube message string, which was also entered as evidence, started: “Hello, there are videos and pictures of Amanda showing herself naked and doing very sexual things to hundreds of guys on BlogTV, Tinychat, Skype, MSN, etc. She needs to be stopped because most of them are older guys who record her and blackmail her into doing more.”
Sedgman said she met with Amanda, Carol and Norm Todd at the Coquitlam detachment a week later to discuss the content and ways to keep Amanda safe, but “she was annoyed with being there,” Sedgman said of the teen girl. “She didn’t seem overly concerned with what was happening.”
The messages also referenced someone named Kody Maxson and provided his address in New Westminster; however, Sedgman said no one of that name lived there, and the police file closed.
Sedgman testified the file reopened in October 2011 when Carol Todd informed police of another disturbing Facebook message — this time from someone named Tyler Boo.
Both Sedgman and Schadeck visited Amanda and Norm Todd at their home in Maple Ridge to discuss online protection. Unlike their meeting at the Coquitlam detachment in January, Amanda “was more frustrated at this point that this was still happening,” Sedgman said, referring to the alleged cyberbullying. “She wanted it to go away. She wanted it to stop…. She was frustrated that she wasn’t being left alone.”
Schadeck said she spoke one-on-one with Amanda in her bedroom, after she stormed away, to “impress” on her the need for digital safety and to delete her online accounts; the girl's Facebook account had more than 1,000 Facebook friends.
“She didn’t like the advice we were giving her,” Schadeck said, but said Amanda later “calmed down and looked sad…. She said she was lonely.”
Schadeck testified she took over the file when Sedgman was transferred to another policing unit and, after Amanda’s school administration received a disturbing email on Nov. 3, 2011, from someone named Katie Hutchkins about Amanda’s online activities, Schadeck contacted B.C.’s Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) team to investigate the alleged harassment online.
That email, which was shown as an exhibit to the jury, also included links to motherless.com and stated: “Many guys are recording her and posting her on X-rated sites so please inform her parents and authorities that she is doing this so they can make her stop. She is not listening and carries on while she knows they are recording and posting her like this.”
In her opening statement, lead prosecutor Louise Kenworthy said Crown will prove Aydin Coban of The Netherlands was behind 22 fake online accounts.
He has pleaded not guilty to:
- importing and distributing child pornography
- possession of child pornography
- communicating with the intent to lure a child
- criminal harassment
None of the allegations is proven in court.
The seven-week trial continues.