Amanda Todd's cyberbully has reportedly been found. A 35-year-old Dutch man who was arrested in January for indecent assault and child pornography is now suspected of having been the man who tormented Todd, who committed suicide at 15 years old in 2012.
The reports of the Dutch man's connection surfaced first on Dutch television yesterday. Then Christian van Dijk, the Dutch lawyer for the man, confirmed to the Associated Press that one of his client's alleged victims was "a 15-year-old girl from British Columbia." He said that American and Norwegian authorities were also involved. And the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced that:
RCMP have laid five charges including child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment and Internet luring against an unnamed man in the Netherlands in connection with the Amanda Todd case.
The man's name is not being released by the Dutch authorities, and the Canadians are abiding by that. All we know is that he had dual Dutch and Turkish citizenship, that he had no partner or children and lived alone, and that when he was arrested he was living "in a vacation house in the town of Oisterwijk."
We also know from van Dijk, the attorney, that so far the man is remaining silent. But van Dijk suggests he believes his client is innocent:
... he doesn't believe prosecutors have sufficient evidence to convict his client, and said that even if there is evidence of unlawful activity on his computer, it may have been hacked.
"Prosecutors seem to think they have a big fish here, but if I see the evidence, it's not much," he said. "Lots of references to IP addresses and such."
Those who were following this story back in 2012, at the time Todd's case was inspiring international attention, may recall that Anonymous got involved and doxxed a Vancouver area man as Todd's tormenter. The police investigated, and he denied it. They believed him. In fact, the doxxed man said he had actually found the real culprit living in New York.
Now the breadcrumb trail appears to have led somewhere else entirely from those initial suspicions. Doxxing has its legitimate uses, but the lessons of the last two years are that facts in highly emotional cases can be a bit of a moving target. The right guy deserves to have the book—or if it really is this guy, the books, Dutch and Canadian—thrown at him. But it's important to be sure it's the right guy.