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Recent Supreme Court decision leaves students at risk

Recent+Supreme+Court+decision+leaves+students+at+risk
Collegian | Falyn Sebastian

Editor’s Note: Read the Spanish version of this article here.

On June 27 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that inadvertent threatening speech is not an arrestable offense, according to an American Civil Liberties Union press release

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Originally in Colorado, any threatening speech that made an individual feel like they were in harm’s way was cause for legal action.

The recent 7-2 decision regarding Counterman v. Colorado, authored by Justice Elena Kagan, decided the previous law was a violation of the First Amendment. This means the speaker’s own intent must be taken into account to recognize whether or not it is a “true threat.” 

This case hits close to home for a few Colorado State University students who had many frightening encounters with a social media presence that went by the name Kiera. Jen Buthman, a second-year CSU student, has been involved in a stalking case since January 2023. 

“It started out as a Snapchat account called ‘Kiera’ with a blond girl as the avatar, and he found us through the CSU 2026 Snapchat community,” Buthman said. “No one knew who it was — it was just ‘Kiera.’” 

Before the stalking started, Buthman and their roommate, Kallie Jost, knew it was a trolling account because the individual was sending disrespectful messages and reposting pictures with hateful words attached. 

The messages Kiera sent to Buthman escalated when he started contacting them every day and asking them how their day was. When Buthman didn’t answer, he would get extremely angry, call them heinous names and threaten them and Jost with physical violence. Buthman described the first encounter with Kiera that made them feel endangered and resulted in them going to the police.

“I posted it (a picture of my car) on my story — it didn’t have my license plate in it,” Buthman said. “It was just the very back window of my car that said ‘dick sucker.’ I just posted, ‘why?’”

Later that day when Buthman returned to their car, they found the words “Kiera is here” on their driver’s side door. 

“Once I went to the police, I blocked the ‘Kiera’ account, and then I went out to my car again to find notes under my windshield,” Buthman said. 

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The notes from Kiera under their windshield denied the vandalism of Buthman’s car and demanded they unblock him.

Buthman was not the only person Kiera stalked and harrassed.

“There was an instance where Kiera texted me when I was at a mall in Lone Tree and proceeded to tell me what I was wearing, what my mother was wearing and what my father was wearing,” Jost said. “I tried to look around for this blond Kiera character, but no one was to be seen.”

After two to three weeks, the police figured out the man behind the account was named Tyler Kindred, a CSU student living off campus. Kindred was in jail for two days before getting bailed out.

“We (Buthman and Jost) had no idea who it was,” Buthman said. “We’d never seen this man; we’d never talked to this man. The only time we’ve ever seen him in person was in court.”

In court, Buthman said Kindred’s entire defense was that “it was just a joke.” This recent Supreme Court decision enables this justification as viable. 

“During the case, Kiera smiled, smirked, laughed and stared at us the entire time,” Jost said. “Jen was extremely uncomfortable, but honestly, I was furious.”

Kindred’s repeated patterns of harassment and refusal to leave Buthman alone resulted in a restraining order.

He ended up going to jail a second time for violating the restraining order by entering Corbett Hall, where Buthman and Jost lived last year.

“Because of that Supreme Court ruling, that felony stalking case is getting completely dismissed and wiped off his record,” Buthman said. 

Buthman said the lack of consequences for Kindred’s actions frustrates them. His only repercussion is suspension from CSU, but he’s looking to appeal it in order to attend school in the fall.

“I’m a little bit terrified about returning to school because I still have the same car, and I know he knows what apartment complex I live in,” Buthman said.

Before the stalking started, Buthman posted a roommate search for their new apartment for the fall, and “Kiera” swiped up, offering his residency.

“In general, this law change is horrifying for me,” Buthman said. “I’ve had incidents with stalking in the past, and it basically just made it legal, and there isn’t anything you can do.”

Reach Alex Hasenkamp at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @alexhasenkamp.

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About the Contributors
Alex Hasenkamp
Alex Hasenkamp, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Alex Hasenkamp is the returning arts and entertainment editor for The Collegian. Last year was Hasenkamp's first time working for The Collegian as the A&E editor, and she is happy to be back. Over the summer, Hasenkamp worked as a writing intern for The Borgen Projecta nonprofit organization working toward ending global poverty. She learned a lot, and she intends on finding another internship or writing position at a paper this upcoming summer as well. Currently a journalism and media communication major and a French minor, Hasenkamp is hoping to study abroad her senior year with the goal of learning and writing about different cultures. Growing up in Seattle, Hasenkamp loves anything music-related and enjoys the opportunity to write about local bands and concerts for the school paper. Besides reporting, Hasenkamp enjoys skiing and playing ultimate frisbee for the Colorado State University team Hell's Belles. She also has an affinity for the visual arts: Previously an art major at the University of Oregon, she enjoys covering local art shows and exhibits, as well as sketching up the occasional graphic for her articles.
Falyn Sebastian
Falyn Sebastian, Digital & Design Managing Edtior
After becoming a page designer as a sophomore, Falyn Sebastian evolved from print editor to design director and has now officially begun her new position as digital and design managing editor. Originally from the Big Island of Hawaii, she chose to attend Colorado State University to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in graphic design along with a minor in entrepreneurship. When it comes to arranging content in The Collegian's newsprint, Sebastian formats and arranges the visual media that readers love in a physical copy. After attending content and budget meetings with the editors of each desk, she manages how each week's visual content fits into the paper by clicking through Adobe InDesign. With a combination of original photos, illustrative graphics and advertisements, Sebastian organizes and delegates tasks to her talented and ever-growing design team. As a graphic design student, journalism was not a field Sebastian intended to work in during college, but she embraced the world of publication design through The Collegian. As graphic design focuses on the importance of effective communication, she realized she was truly designing for a fulfilling purpose. Student media will forever have a happy home in her heart. Working with other students who are passionate about what is happening in their community drives her to continue working on impactful design. Sebastian looks forward to what is yet to come while gaining new experience and memories with her staff.

Comments (1)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
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    KallieAug 28, 2023 at 9:00 am

    Thank you for getting this story out there. For the sake of Jen and I’s safety and girls all over campus it is important to understand the supreme court ruling and how it will affect so many people.

    Reply