A Kentucky hacker who exposed the identities of high school football players who gang-raped an unconscious 16-year-old girl and spread a video of the assault has pleaded guilty and is now facing a longer prison term than the rapists.
Deric Lostutter pleaded guilty last week to one count of conspiracy and one count of making false statements to law enforcement agents for hacking into Ohio's Steubenville High School football fan website Roll Red Roll in 2012, RT reports.The 29-year-old hacker, who was known online as "KYAnonymous," has admitted to hacking into the site with another hacker, Noah McHugh, to upload a video to the fan site that showed evidence of the 2012 rape of an unconscious West Virginia 16-year-old girl by members of the football team. Lostutter and McHugh used the rapists' own videos to expose them.
The Steubenville players, who referred to themselves as the "rape crew," had dragged the unconscious girl from party to party, taking photos and videos of their actions that they eventually shared online. In the videos, the Steubenville football players joke about the rape.
The 16-year-old victim said she drank from a red cup earlier in the evening and became so intoxicated that she couldn't stop the assault. When the victim attempted to press charges, her character was attacked in the small town, Reuters reports.
The crime gained national attention at the time, in part because the rapists inadvertently helped provide much of the evidence themselves through social media after the victim was unable to recall details of the crime.The video that Lostutter uploaded to the Steubenville fan website also included threats to disclose details that showed school faculty members and parents were involved in covering up the rape and demanded that those who were responsible come forward and apologize.
Some members of the school administration were later found guilty of attempting to cover up the crime. A grand jury indicted four school officials over the scandal and for involvement in another rape of a 14-year-old girl in April of 2012. The school's technology director also later pled guilty to deleting files related to the rape.
Two of the rapists, Trent Mays and Malik Richmond, were found guilty of rape and kidnapping. They were sentenced to two years and one year, respectively, in a juvenile detention center and had already been released.Lostutter said that the hack with McHugh was intended "to bring attention to the August 2012 rape, to harass and intimidate people, and to gain notoriety and publicity for their online identities," according to Lostutter's plea agreement.
Lostutter is an alleged member of KnightSec, an infamous hacker group, Hackread reports. He has allegedly also taken an active part in the hacking of Hunter Moore, a "revenge-porn tycoon," and the Westboro Baptist Church hate group.
The hacker community has now turned their back on Lostutter, accusing him online of seeking fame through his hacking activities, which they say is the cardinal sin of hacktivism. The hacker is now running his own cyber security firm and seeking donations to pay his bills. His attorney is handling his case pro bono.
His wife, Jennifer, spoke out in defense of her husband in a video uploaded last month. She is pregnant with their second child after their first child, a little girl named Jade, was born stillborn in January.Deric Lostutter told Mic that he believes prosecutors are going after him to make him a martyr for using free speech and the media to expose rape culture and institutional injustice and to further their own careers. The outdated law being used to prosecute Lostutter is the same one that was used against internet activist Aaron Swartz in 2012, who took his own life at age 26 while facing decades in prison.
"They want to make an example out of me," Lostutter said, "for exposing a coverup."
"You get 16 years for forcibly entering your way into a computer, but you get 1 year for forcibly entering your way into a woman. I think that's the precedent the government is setting here."Lostutter will be sentenced in March.
[Featured Image by Rokas Tenys/Shutterstock]