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Updated: Thu, 17 Apr 2014 21:00:47 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Amanda Todd sexual extortion leads to charges against Dutch citizen



Amanda Todd, 15, is shown in this undated handout photo from one of the many Facebook memorial sites set up after her death. The Canadian Press

Amanda Todd, 15, is shown in this undated handout photo from one of the many Facebook memorial sites set up after her death. The Canadian Press

B.C. RCMP announced charges at a news conference late Thursday afternoon against a 35-year-old Dutch citizen in connection with the online sexual extortion of Amanda Todd, the B.C. teen who killed herself in October 2012.

The man, whose identity has not been released, has been charged with five sex-related counts, including extortion, internet luring, criminal harassment and the possession and distribution of child pornography.

Coquitlam, B.C., RCMP Inspector Pauline Friel told reporters that authorities in the Netherlands had arrested a Dutch citizen in January in relation to an investigation in that country involving Dutch victims. 

As a result of that investigation and the ongoing efforts of the Coquitlam, B.C. RCMP, she said, RCMP were able to initiate criminal proceedings against the man in relation to the Amanda Todd case.

Officials at the Dutch Embassy also confirmed the man was arrested in January and made his first court appearance Wednesday, the same day charges were laid in the Netherlands.

Prior to the RCMP news conference, the Dutch media organization Omroep Brabant published news identifying Todd as one of the victims in the Netherland's case.

The journalist who broke the story in the Netherlands, Mathijs Pennings, told CBC News the man arrested is a Dutch national, who is accused of blackmailing numerous minors after recording their webcam activities. He is also alleged to have extorted older male victims for money.

His alleged victims include individuals from Europe, the U.K. and Canada, Pennings said.

The man allegedly told the Canadian girl to undress in front of a webcam, which she did, and then he saved those images in order to blackmail her, Omroep Brabant reported. 

Carol Todd, Amanda's mother, told CBC that she was in shock at the news. She said RCMP told her there was an overseas development in the case two months ago but didn't want to comment further until she had the chance to speak to B.C. RCMP later today.

"There were multiple people in those chat rooms," she said. "So this would hopefully be the first layer of many layers that they could uncover."

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