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Wednesday June 27, 2012

PITTSFIELD - A Central Berkshire District Court judge on Wednesday morning granted Meredith Nilan an harassment prevention order against local blogger Dan Valenti, and ordered him to remove any references to the Pittsfield resident from his website, Planet Valenti.

Nilan, the daughter of Berkshire Superior Court Probation Chief Clifford Nilan, had been the subject of many postings on Valenti's website regarding charges she faced in a car accident in December.

In granting the harassment prevention order, Judge Bethzaida Sanabria-Vega, ordered Valenti to remove "any and all references" of Nilan from "any and all websites, blogs, etc ...". The order also requires Valenti to stay 100 yards away from Nilan, stay away from both her place of employment and home, and refrain from any contact or abuse.

The order is effective until Monday, July 9. A court hearing will take place on that day to determine if an extension is warranted. Valenti, who was not in court on Wednesday, can attend the hearing. The order is being sent to him through the mail.

A freelance writer/journalist who has been a columnist for both The Berkshire Eagle and the Pittsfield Gazette, Valenti has operated his own website since 2010. He also runs his own publishing company, Planet Media Books.

The maximum penalty for violating an harassment prevention order is 2 1/2 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.