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Facebook Harassment Trial Could Begin Friday [UPDATE]

Teri Buhl is accused of posting the personal journal entries of her then-boyfriend's teenage daughter online.

Almost one year to the day after her arrest on Oct. 27, 2010, the is scheduled to begin Friday in . 

Closely followed by parents, Facebook users and residents of New Canaan and beyond, the unusual incident that prompted Buhl's arrest touches on underage drinking, sex, social media, Internet privacy and parenting.

In June, 2010, her boyfriend at the time, a New Canaan resident, and his then 17-year-old daughter, reported to that someone had gained access to the daughter's personal journal and posted excerpts on Facebook.

Containing sexually explicit information, accounts of underage drinking and other personal information, the entries were from a notebook, which father and daughter said she kept in the bedroom of their home.

As the investigation continued, according to an affidavit application filed with the court by Sgt. Carol Ogrinc of the New Canaan Police Department, the Facebook account creation and postings were traced to IP addresses associated with Buhl's Optonline Internet service subscriber account at home on Locust Avenue in New Canaan, as well as to a computer at New Canaan Library.

When confronted with an additional copy of the embarrassing material she had sent the girl's father by mail, Buhl, a former reporter for Greenwich Time newspaper and a freelance business reporter, told Officer Dan Gulino, "that she is investigating the underage drinking problem in New Canaan," according to the court documents.

In May, Buhl , effectively ensuring that her case would go to trial. She faces charges of second-degree harassment, second-degree breach of peace and interfering with an officer.

Although she has , Buhl has continued to write about New Canaan, the NCPD and her concerns about underage drinking.

A call to the attorney who represented Buhl at her last appearance, Christopher W. Caldwell, was not returned.

The Connecticut state attorney's office in Norwalk declined to comment.

[Editor's Note: The headline on this article was updated following Patch's interiew with Caldwell—see comment below. The language describing IP addresses also was supplemented for clarification.]

Teri October 19, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Once again the Patch has just published another inaccurate report. I am not aware of my trial starting on Friday.I will be in court on Friday but we don't have a trial date yet. I have called Chandra and emailed her to discuss the multiple misstatement in this story and she has not returned my calls. I realize the Patch operates on a shoe string budget but I'd hope the ability for a reporter to correctly read and source from a police report should be a basic job requirement. In the past Harold- the court reporter- has contacted me before he went to print. It's unclear why that didn't happen here. Teri Buhl
Jane Preziosi October 19, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Caldwell, Buhl's attorney, when reached for comment by Patch said, "while I could get a call saying we're going to pick a jury Friday," his expectation is,"as far as I know right now, Friday will be a status conference update."
Teri October 19, 2011 at 03:19 PM
It has been three hours and no one has called me back or responded to emails about the inaccurate sentences in this story. I'm not even sure if Jane as a copy of the police report or is just getting creative with her version of what she thinks happened. Considering she has never interviewed me or been in court for my case this is one of the oddest methods of reporter sourcing I've seen. While the case certainly touches on underage drinking, sex, social media, Internet privacy and parenting, it also touches on First Amendment issues and why a small police department in an affluent town would focus on prosecuting me with a minimal investigation rather than addressing any of the underlying issues. In fact, its quite clear that underage drinking is a major problem in the wealthiest towns of Fairfield County and that it appears to be tolerated by wealthy parents and the police. For example, a recent story in the Greenwich Time by a high school senior described the wide spread use of alcohol by high school students in Greenwich see http://www.newcanaannewsonline.com/default/article/Teen-drinking-culture-exposed-2212137.php
Teri October 19, 2011 at 03:20 PM
Of course, underage drinking can lead to significant social problems ranging for sexual assault to acute intoxication and many believe New Canaan high school students drink alcohol before going to the teen center and while they are there. The New Canaan police had the perfect opportunity last year to address that issue but instead decided to focus on me, rather the critical issue that was at stake. While they focused on me, the underage drinking continued in New Canaan and the New Canaan police didn't do anything until they received "noise complaints" a year later: http://newcanaan.patch.com/articles/police-break-up-teen-party-find-mom-hiding-in-closet Even then, the New Canaan police didn't bother to note that the same individuals involved in this incident were involved in the social media discussions at issue in my case. Did New Canaan high school students engage in risky or unwelcome sex during that year? Were New Canaan high school students hospitalized during that year? Could these issues have been prevented if the New Canaan police had decided to focus on the message rather than the messenger?
Teri October 19, 2011 at 03:24 PM
The stories about my case contain a number of inaccurate statements that will eventually come out at trial if it gets that far. I have certainly refused the court offer to apply for accelerated rehabilitation to the charges twice - all of which are misdemeanors. I will certainly continue to write about New Canaan, the NCPD and parents concerns about underage drinking & I will continue to refuse to disclose the sources for my stories. While there was a court order not to contact the girl (who is now 19) and her father, I was never accused of contacting them before or after the order. Nor I have been charged with invasion of privacy or stealing any notes. Incidentally, the State has yet to answer our bill of particulars motion and we actually don’t know what actions they think constitute harassment, breach of peace, or interference with a police investigation. I suspect the reason they have not responded is because they know that reporting truthful information -- regardless of whether it is posted on social media or in print -- is not a crime and is protected by the First Amendment & the Connecticut Constitution. As media moves online -- and away from print publications -- constitutional protections for truthful reporting don't change. Posting truthful information on line is just as protected as printing it in the New Canaan News and local reporters should be worried they could be targets for prosecution as well.
Teri October 19, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Eventually, my case will get resolved. Hopefully, it will be by the prosecutors recognizing the importance of the underlying social issues and the constitutional protections for posting truthful information and deciding to drop the case. If not, I expect it will be resolved by a court recognizing just as the Nebraska Supreme Court recently did in a case involving emails "the State cannot constitutionally criminalize speech ... solely because it inflicts emotional injury, annoys, offends, or angers another person."
Anne Nonimus October 19, 2011 at 04:00 PM
" this is one of the oddest methods of reporter sourcing I've seen." How about: Theft of a girl's diary and then posting it on the internet?! Odd indeed.
Teri October 19, 2011 at 05:19 PM
Anne if you read the NCPD report you'd know I have not been charged with theft of anyone's diary. But since we are not getting a lot of accurate info out of the Patch I suggest you come to the trial and hear what really happen.
NC Resident 2000 October 19, 2011 at 05:22 PM
I find it odd that a woman with no children in New Canaan is so obessed with teen drinking. Obviously, it is a big problem (and has been for many years) but it sounds like this lady has some sort of vendetta. Honestly - what middle aged woman steals a diary and posts its content on Facebook? Seems a little distrurbing - more so than kids drinking.
JL October 19, 2011 at 06:28 PM
Seriously. Underage drinking has been a problem for generations and not just in small wealthy enclaves. You can go into NYC any night and see teenage girls getting into clubs they have no business being in. Go anywhere in this country and the problems are very similar. Those who think the problem is unique to New Canaan or Fairfield county are just wrong.
Anne Nonimus October 19, 2011 at 08:48 PM
yeah, like I want to waste one minute of my time watching "The Teri Show" unfold. You enjoy. Your excessive interest in teen drinking is disturbing. You're not a teen or a parent of one. Maybe focus on something more consequential or at least relevant to your experience. (whatever that may be)
Particle October 20, 2011 at 12:43 AM
Ms. Buhl, you are a strange person who clearly is in need of psychological help. Do yourself and my fellow citizens of NC a favor and get some. You have no teenage children (thank gosh) so therefore have no clue what is in there best interest. Posting a teenage girls diary entries on Facebook is disturbing and proves the point you cannot distinguish between what is right and wrong. You are an adult. What is wrong with you? Having been one of those "underage drinkers" in NC when I went to high school here it was a blessing in disguise once I got into the "real world" and had already experienced what comes with drinking alcohol. As a matter of fact I strongly believe it made me a better person and is related to the success I have had in life. Parents and teenagers in NC are for the most part very intelligent individuals who are more than capable of making there own decisions without your assistance. Do yourself a favor and give it up before you become the laughing stock of the community. Also, the NCPD does a great job in this town for which I am thankful. It is not there job to address any of these underlying issues. There job is to address, press charges, and protect our community from people like you.
Paula October 20, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Ms. Buhl....don't you realize you have no "rights" when you speak of NC folks.....there ARE laws, but heavens they don't apply here....
Sheryl Shaker October 20, 2011 at 02:02 PM
A comment was removed from this thread. Thank you for keeping your comments to the issues raised in the article without resorting to personal attacks.
Andrea October 22, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Jane or Sheryl what happen to the case on Friday? I didn't see an update which either means you are not spending time in court to report or nothing happen and you are embaressed to admit you were wrong about a trial starting this week. The other local papers didn't report a trial was starting. The headline says a trial could start and then the first sentence says it IS starting on Friday. What's going here? I read through the warrant report (is this the first time Patch has published a warrant report on a criminal trail? Why did you do that?) and I could not find Sgt Ogrinc statement of fact that the ip address that started the facebook account came from Buhl's home. I saw an ip address that matched the time (June 2010) some of the postings went up on facebook about the drinking from Buhl's home but not the start date of the facebook account. Please explain what page and sentence you got that information from. I noticed the body of this story has changed a few times. Why is that? Teri wrote a story this week about the New Canaan Patch holding an investigative story last summer about a local bank fraud that involved New Canaan Residents Peter Keller and Ruth Jones in an effort to keep Bank of New Canaan ads. It looks like she spoke to Business Insider about the problem last year. Is it possible Patch is not reporting all the events in this case as some kind of payback? http://www.teribuhl.com/2011/10/20/did-new-canaan-patch-hold-a-bank-fraud-story-to-appease-advertisers/
Teri October 22, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Patch is using a New Canaan realtor with no apparent history of journalism training to do their court reporting on the side now? http://www.linkedin.com/in/janepreziosi I guess the budget cut news SAI broke last month is true http://www.businessinsider.com/aol-requires-patch-editors-to-drum-up-ad-sales-leads-2011-9
J.James November 13, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Histrionics, delusions of grandeur, creating separate accounts in order to "validate" the things you've already said, dissociation. There are very serious root problems here speaking to much larger issues. Get some help, Teri. No one is listening.

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