A Steubenville FBI raid against a hacker who exposed two rape suspects is causing a backlash as supports rally around the man.
Deric Lostutter is a 26-year-old hacktivist who worked in an Anonymous operation to expose the Steubenville High School football players accused of rape, but Lostutter found himself the subject of an investigation instead. FBI agents raided his home in connection to the Steubenville leaks, and Lostutter may now face more time in jail than the rapists themselves.
Lostutter had been connected to a subset of the hacker group Anonymous known as KYAnonymous. He heard about the case in Steubenville, where two members of the popular high school football team raped a 16-year-old girl at a party where many other members of the team witnessed the attack and shared videos and accounts via social media.
Lostutter later received a Twitter message from a friend who knew a journalist covering the Steubenville rape case. The friend gave Lostutter tweets and Instagram photos from the players there that night, which he decided to publicize.
“I was always raised to stick up for people who are getting bullied,” he said.
The materials he leaked ended up being crucial pieces of evidence in the case against the two rapists, who were convicted in March. But now Lostutter could face up to 10 years in prison.
According to the warrant obtained by Gawker, in the Steubenville raid FBI agents were looking for evidence related to the hacking of Rollredroll.com, the website of a Steubenville High School booster club that had been defaced. Another hacker has claimed responsibility, and Lostutter says he had nothing to do with it.
The Steubenville FBI raid has drawn criticism online, with many believing that Lostutter is being unfairly targeted. Jason Flores-Williams, part of the Whistleblower’s Defense League which is representing Lostutter, said he hopes the FBI drops the case.
“We certainly hope the United States comes to its senses and decides not to indict, and if they do we will aggressively litigate the incident,” said Flores-Williams. “What’s unique here to me is that it’s not a national security issue. This isn’t at the forefront at the NSA or the CIA. This comes out of the heartland of the country, and this is a person who is just trying to do what is right for the heartland.”
Lostutter appears to be welcoming the help. He tweeted about the Steubenville FBI raid, saying that the story is set to “implode the internet.”