Steubenville hacktivist could face more jail time than the actual rapists

Monica Nickelsburg
The Week
A group of protesters wearing Anonymous-associated Guy Fawkes masks stand outside the juvenile court in Steubenville, Ohio, on March 14.

Deric Lostutter faces up to 10 years for publicizing information that spotlighted the Ohio rape case

The ethics of privacy in the digital age has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of the NSA's newly unmasked PRISM operation and the subversive actions of hacker collective, Anonymous. The legal repercussions one Anonymous hacktivist is facing for actions that uncovered details in the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case only further blur the line between overreach and justice.

The hacker, known as KYAnonymous, whose real name is Deric Lostutter, is a 26-year-old hacker and cyber-security consultant, who obtained and published tweets and Instagram photos in which members of the Steubenville High School football team joked about two of their teammates raping a girl. Lostutter's actions brought the case to national attention, inciting an intense public outcry against many in the town who seemed to blame the victim rather than her attackers. Yet, Lostutter may face 10 years in prison, while the perpetrators Ma'Lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, were sentenced in March to at least one year in a juvenile facility for the assault, reports Mother Jones.

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The FBI raided Lostutter's Kentucky home in April, and according to the FBI search warrant, the agents were looking for information related to the hacking of the Steubenville football team's fan page, Lostutter admits to being the masked man in a video that another hacker reportedly says he posted on that team fan page; in the clip, Lostutter threatens action against the Steubenville rapists unless they apologize to the victim. Otherwise, Lostutter says, he has mostly steered clear of the media since then, with the exception of one CNN interview in which he wore a Guy Fawkes mask. But he tells Mother Jones he's speaking out because he believes the FBI and Steubenville officials aim to make an example out of him.

In spite of his impending trial, Lostutter doesn't seem to regret what he did: "I was always raised to stick up for people who are getting bullied," he says.

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