After word spread last week that a Canadian teen named Amanda Todd had taken her own life after being cyberbullied for a period of at least two years, certain anonymous Internet justice outfits set out to find the person responsible.
Over the weekend, the name of a Vancouver man alleged to be Todd's main tormentor surfaced online and began to spread rapidly across the web.
It was claimed that this was the man who managed to obtain a screengrab of a preteen Todd flashing her breasts on the live video chat site BlogTV, and used that image to blackmail her, eventually forwarding it to her friends and family when she refused his explicit requests.
In what is being described as an odd coincidence, the alleged tormentor made a court appearance yesterday [pdf] in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey on charges of sexual assault and sexual interference of a person under 16 that are apparently unrelated.
The Vancouver Sun interviewed him about his connection to Amanda Todd, and he vehemently denied being the person responsible for her suicide — though he says he knows who is.
The man, who claims to be "a known hacker," says Todd contacted him for help tracking down her cyberbully, a 26-year-old from New York who goes by "Viper."
"I tried to help, to do everything I could," he told The Sun, adding that he did not bully Todd and is "really pissed off and annoyed" about being blamed.
He claims he and his family have been on the receiving end of thousands of death threats since his name was made public.
Local police appeared to corroborate the man's story in a statement saying allegations made about his involvement are "unfounded."
For their part, NJAnon — the group spearheading the justice-for-Todd operation — remains unconvinced, calling the man's claims "bullshit" while releasing a new dossier on the man they say is the second cyberbully, Viper, and urging the police to arrest him.