A group of hackers say they have tracked down a man they say is Amanda Todd’s tormenter.
The “hacktivists” are part of the group Anonymous and say they have found a man in his early 30s from New Westminster, B.C., who allegedly blackmailed the 15-year-old girl for pictures over the Internet.
Anonymous, named one of the most influential people of the year by Time Magazine, posted the man’s name on the text-storing website Pastebin. “At the most this is the person who did this to Amanda Todd and at the least it’s another pedophile,” their post said. The hackers have also released a video on YouTube.
The teen from Coquitlam, B.C., committed suicide last Wednesday. In September she had posted a YouTube video that described bullying and sexual exploitation she faced over the Internet as early as the seventh grade. Todd’s YouTube post has over 3.5 million views.
In the video, Todd recounts how she flashed her breasts to an unknown man over a webcam. Todd says the man threatened to send the pictures of her breasts to friends and family, if she didn’t “put on a show” for him.The group says the B.C. man visited a teen chat forum that claims to offer sexual advice for teens and a photo gallery called “Jailbait.”
So-called “jailbait” boards are scattered throughout the Internet. Dozens of users on the popular social media website Reddit refer to themselves as “ephebophiles” – adults who are attracted to teenagers. The “Jailbait” section of Reddit was created by one of the site’s “most active contributors,” says one Reddit user. The section has since been deleted.
Anonymous is a loosely organized group of hackers and activists from around the world who have been responsible for several high-profile cyber attacks. Two years ago, the group attacked MasterCard, PayPal and Visa websites after they refused to accept donations to WikiLeaks.
Police told The Canadian Press they were aware of the Anonymous claim.
“I’m not going to speak to anything beyond the fact that we are aware of what has been put on social media in regards to that name,” said Sgt. Peter Thiessen, spokesman for the RCMP.
Amanda’s mother, Carol Todd, has said police have been investigating leads about the Web stalker.
“Police investigated and investigated, it got traced to somebody in the United States,” Carol Todd was quoted saying by the Vancouver Sun. “But they never found him. Those people are very good at hiding their tracks.”
Said Thiessen: “We are following up every piece of information with the hope that we can gather enough evidence to lay an appropriate charge against those that we feel may have played some role.”