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Amanda Todd's parents recall teenager's anguish at recurring social media torment – CBC.ca

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WARNING: This story contains disturbing details and may affect those who have been targeted for sextortion, or know someone affected by it.

“Mom, what are we going to do?”

Carol Todd recalled Amanda Todd’s words Tuesday as she took the stand for the second day of the trial of the man accused of extorting and harassing her daughter.

It was November 2011 — less than a year before Amanda Todd would die by suicide. The teenager’s parents were divorced, and Amanda was staying with Carol Todd at her home.

“I heard a shriek, and Amanda came running downstairs, and I asked her if there was a problem,” Todd testified.

Amanda showed her a Facebook profile for a user named Austin Collins. The picture attached was of Amanda Todd.

“She showed me a profile with an image of her bare chested as the image profile,” Todd recalled. 

“I remember some form of messaging that came in somehow. It was to the fact that this profile had befriended friends of Amanda, acquaintances of Amanda for the purposes of sharing her image again.”

Carol Todd remembered her daughter’s questions.

“Why is this happening? She was afraid now again of what it would be like — going back to school,” Todd said.

“So she was distressed, and I was distressed.”

‘I wouldn’t know what she was doing’

The scene was one of a number Todd relived on the witness stand as she completed her testimony in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. 

She was the first witness to testify in what is expected to be a seven-week trial. Immediately after her testimony, her ex-husband Norm took the stand.

Carol Todd was Amanda Todd’s mother. She was the first witness at the trial of Aydin Coban, who is accused of extorting Amanda Todd from 2009 until 2012. (TELUS Originals)

Aydin Coban — the man accused of sextorting Amanda Todd — has pleaded not guilty to five criminal charges including extortion, harassment and possession of child pornography.

Prosecutors claim he was the man behind an array of fake social media accounts used to bully the teen into exposing herself in front of a camera from 2009 to 2012, starting when she was 13.

Under questioning from both the Crown and defence, Carol Todd went back and forth in time through the years up to and including her daughter’s death.

She was shown pictures of Amanda Todd’s bedroom taken after she took her own life, the teenager’s laptop and phone sitting on top of a black and white duvet sprawled across her bed.

A photo of Amanda Todd’s bedroom shows her laptop and phone on top of a black and white duvet. The items were seized by police after her death. (B.C. Supreme Court)

Todd spoke about the struggles of trying dealing with a child’s access to the internet and social media in a split home; watching troubling images and chat messages appear, trying to have a conversation, then finding herself blocked from Amanda’s feed.

“It’s like literally turning off access on her social media so I wouldn’t know what she was doing,” Todd said at one point.

“You only notice it if you try to access viewing, and then you aren’t able to see.”

1,279 Facebook friends

Under cross-examination, Todd acknowledged that RCMP had advised Amanda to get off social media after the family met with investigators to discuss threats accompanying the posting of graphic images of the teen online.

“Initially she refused, but then with her father’s agreement we were able to convince her that she needed to turn it off,” Todd testified.

Amanda Todd’s Facebook profile is seen in an exhibit entered at the trial of Dutch man Aydin Coban, who is accused of extorting her. Prosecutors claim Coban used an assortment of fake social media identities to harass the teenager. (B.C. Supreme Court)

“Did that last?” asked Coban’s lawyer, Joseph Saulnier.

“That lasted for a couple of months and then we gradually allowed her to re-enter her Facebook world,” Todd answered.

The defence lawyer quizzed Todd about the huge amount of Facebook friends the teenager had — 1,279 in total at one point.

“She didn’t personally know all those people, I take it,” Saulnier said.

“No, she did not,” Todd replied.

Coban was extradited from the Netherlands to Canada in 2020 to face trial for sextorting Amanda Todd.

The Crown says it expects to call evidence and police witnesses — including Dutch investigators — to prove electronic devices seized from Coban’s home contain data linking him to the 22 phony user names and social media accounts that tormented Amanda Todd.

‘What did you see when you clicked?’

Norm Todd took the stand in the afternoon. He said he has tried to put events in the time leading up to his daughter’s death behind him, and had difficulty recalling the finer details of what happened.

Amanda Todd came to live with Norm Todd in an apartment after he moved out of the family home.

Amanda Todd died by suicide in October 2012. A video she made about cyberbullying before she took her life went viral in the months after her death. (YouTube)

He said her online life was a “main focus” for her and that “she freaked out” when he tried to cut her access to the internet.

Todd also recalled her showing him messages to prove someone was “stalking her online — the pedophile.”

“They were about her exposing herself online or it would be sent out to schools and friends and stuff … blackmailing her … threatening her,” Todd said. “She was scared and kind of panicky … didn’t know what she could do about it.”

Norm Todd said he also received messages from unknown sources about his daughter, with links to graphic images. He said he clicked on one.

“What did you see when you clicked?” Crown prosecutor Louise Kenworthy asked.

“One of the links showed my daughter exposing herself,” Todd said. “Lifting up her top.”

On cross-examination Todd admitted that his daughter might have told police she knew she didn’t have to do what people told her to online and that she did not feel threatened. 

‘She stopped going to school altogether’

The court also released copies Tuesday of messages Carol Todd received containing links to graphic images of Amanda Todd.

“Amanda (Michelle) Todd has still been showing herself naked and performing sexual acts on cam-sites and Instant Messengers in front of countless men, total strangers, up until last week,” said one, sent in November 2011. 

“She is underage (14 years), which means she is willingly producing live child porn.”

Carol Todd testified that her daughter stopped attending school in the fall of 2011 after the topless profile picture of her appeared on Facebook.

“She stopped going to school altogether because of the fear and anxiety of being in front of her peers,” she said.

On cross-examination, Coban’s lawyers suggested that Amanda Todd may have had other reasons for wanting to change schools.

Carol Todd said a traumatic event involving a boy earlier in the fall triggered post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.

She didn’t elaborate on the nature of the incident, but disputed the contention it was unrelated to the messages Amanda was receiving through the internet.

Norm Todd echoed that point, saying Amanda Todd and some friends at school had conflicts related to jealousy which may have played a role in her desire to change schools.

But he said the “number one thing was the pedophile thing.”

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Media Advisory: Ministers Stoodley and Davis to Attend Run for Women in Support of Stella's Circle – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

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On Sunday, June 26 the Honourable Sarah Stoodley, Minister of Digital Government and Service NL and the Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, will attend the LOVE YOU’ by Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women, in support of women’s mental health programs at Stella’s Circle.

The event is set to begin at 8:45 a.m. at Quidi Vidi Lake, 115 The Boulevard, St. John’s.

The Run for Women is held in 18 cities throughout Canada and focuses on Women’s Mental Health. Funds raised go to this year’s charity partner, Stella’s Circle, to specifically support programming at Naomi House and the Just Us Women’s Centre. The event also promotes physical movement as a means to creating better positive mental health outcomes.

-30-

Media contacts
Krista Dalton
Digital Government and Service NL
709-729-4748, 685-6492
kristadalton@gov.nl.ca

Lynn Robinson
Environment and Climate Change
709-729-5449, 691-9466
lynnrobinson@gov.nl.ca

2022 06 24
1:40 pm

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Newly appointed Toronto councillor resigns after controversial social media posts resurfaced – CTV News Toronto

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A newly installed Toronto councillor has resigned after her old social media posts, which appear to show homophobic content, were unearthed hours following her appointment.

Rosemarie Bryan was appointed by city council as the new councillor for Ward 1 – Etobicoke North during a special meeting on Friday, filling the vacancy left by Michael Ford, who ran in June’s provincial election and won.

After she was appointed, however, Bryan’s alleged past social media activities, which appears to show her sharing anti-LGBTQ content, were brought to light.

Friday was the start of the Pride Toronto’s Festival Weekend, which features the return of the Pride Parade to downtown streets on Sunday following a two-year hiatus.

Several councillors posted to social media that had they known about Bryan’s posts, they would not have voted for her to fill the seat.

“A majority of councillors would have never this (way) had this information been brought forward. We relied too heavily on the recommendation being made by former councillor,” Coun. Mike Layton tweeted.

“We need to reopen this debate.”

Of the 23 councillors who cast their ballots, 21 voted for Bryan, including Mayor John Tory.

Coun. Josh Matlow, one of the two councillors who did not vote for Bryan, called for her resignation, tweeting that he does not believe “anyone who supports hate and bigotry should be a Toronto city councillor, or hold any public office for that matter. This is disgraceful.”

On Friday night, Bryan released a statement announcing that she is resigning, saying it’s the best way to continue serving those who love and support her in Etobicoke North.

Bryan said she is devastated that her past online posts are being “thrown against my decades of commitment to the community.”

“I recognize councillors were not aware of those posts before today’s discussion and now that they are, I recognize many would not have cast their vote for me. I don’t want to hurt all those who supported me and I remain committed to helping my community in any and every way I can,” she said.

In a statement, Tory said while Bryan made a “strong case” to council for her appointment, her past social media posts are “not acceptable.”

“I totally disagree with any homophobic or transphobic views. I absolutely support our 2SLGBTQ+ residents. City Councillors are expected to set an example when it comes to consistency with our shared values,” Tory said.

“I would not have voted for this appointment had I been aware of these posts and I know that is the sentiment of the vast majority of council who also voted today.”

He said it was appropriate for Bryan to resign.

“The upset this has caused everyone involved is extremely unfortunate. This is especially unfortunate on the very weekend when we are celebrating the progress we have made together,” Tory said, adding that he has asked staff to review the overall appointment process.

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S.Korean leader's informal media events are a break with tradition – SaltWire Halifax powered by The Chronicle Herald

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By Soo-hyang Choi

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean leader Yoon Suk-yeol has departed from years of tradition by holding informal daily media events to field questions on topics ranging from inflation and ties with neighbouring North Korea to the first lady and even boyband BTS.

Such wide-ranging access to the president was previously unheard of. It stems from Yoon’s decision to move his office out of the official Blue House, whose previous occupants largely steered clear of such interactions over more than seven decades.

“It’s apparently helping Yoon dispel worries about his lack of political experience and giving him a sense of where public opinion is at,” said Eom Kyeong-young, a political commentator based in the capital, Seoul.

Yoon, a former prosecutor-general, entered politics just a year ago, before winning the presidency in March by a margin of just 0.7%, the narrowest in South Korea’s history.

Upon his inauguration in May, Yoon moved the presidential office to the compound of South Korea’s defence ministry, describing the official residence as the symbol of an “imperial presidency”, and vowing not to “hide behind” his aides.

His liberal predecessor, Moon Jae-in, had rarely held news conferences, and almost always filtered his communication with the media, and the public, through layers of secretaries.

Analysts see Yoon’s daily freewheeling sessions as part of a broader communications strategy that lets him drive policy initiatives and present himself as a confident, approachable leader.

The campaign has also allayed public suspicions about the newcomer to politics, they say.

Polls show the new strategy helping to win support and much-needed political capital for Yoon in his effort to hasten recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, in a parliament dominated by the opposition Democratic Party.

Although Yoon’s approval rating dipped to 47.6% in a recent survey, slightly lower than the disapproval figure of 47.9%, another June poll showed communication was the reason most frequently cited by those who favoured him.

“The sweeping victory of Yoon’s conservative party in June local elections shows the public is not so much against the new administration,” said Eom.

Incumbents from Yoon’s People Power Party (PPP) defeated challengers for the posts of mayor in the two biggest cities of Seoul and the port city of Busan in that contest, while its candidates won five of seven parliamentary seats.

Eom attributed Yoon’s low approval rating from the beginning of his term to inflation risks that threaten to undermine an economic recovery and his lack of a support base as a new politician.

But some critics say Yoon’s sessions raise the chances that he could make mistakes.

“He could make one mistake a day,” Yun Kun-young of the opposition party wrote on Facebook last week, saying the new practice could be “the biggest risk factor” for the government.

The presidential office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yoon has already faced criticism for controversial remarks made during the morning briefings, such as one in defence of his nominee for education minister, who has a record of driving under the influence of alcohol years ago.

But the daily meetings and public reaction would ultimately help the government to shape policy better, said Shin Yul, a professor of political science at Myongji University in Seoul.

“It might be burdensome for his aides for now, but will be an advantage in the long term,” Shin said. “A slip of the tongue cannot be a bigger problem than a policy failure.”

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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