Hacker Sentenced in Steubenville Rape Case

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The Washington Times


A Kentucky man who said he helped hack a high school football team's website in order to draw attention to an infamous 2012 rape case was sentenced Wednesday to two years in federal prison.

Deric Lostutter, 29, was sentenced in federal court Wednesday more than four years after he began participating in what prosecutors portrayed as a campaign of intimidation and harassment waged against the administrator of a website dedicated to the Steubenville High School football team in Steubenville, Ohio.

Lostutter's crimes were rooted in an August 2012 encounter during which a teenage girl was said to have been raped by two Steubenville athletes, Ma'lik Richmond and Trent Mays. Lostutter and various co-conspirators aligned with the Anonymous hacktivist movement mounted a highly publicized internet campaign later that year aimed at raising awareness of the allegations, and arguably played a pivotal role in propelling the case to the forefront of national news well before both athletes were ultimately tried and convicted in 2013.

Using the alias "KYAnonymous," Lostutter admittedly participated in various efforts connected to the campaign, including a January 2013 interview on CNN and a Rolling Stone feature story that fall. According to prosecutors, Lostutter went over the line, however, when he set his sights on an individual who ran a website dedicated to the Steubenville football team.

Lostutter and a co-conspirator gained unauthorized access to the fan page as well as its owner's email address, then leaked their private correspondence prior to attempting to cover-up evidence of their acts, prosecutors alleged in a federal indictment handed down last July. He initially pleaded not guilty upon being charged last year with four felony counts, but changed course two months later and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer hacking and lying to an FBI investigator involved in the probe.

Prosecutors sought and received a two-year prison sentence Wednesday from U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves in Lexington federal court.

"Not surprised by sentence, which is a year more than one of the rapists got," Lostutter's attorney, Tor Ekeland, told Ars Technica after Wednesday's hearing. "And on par with what one of the [other] rapists got."

U.S. Attorney Neeraj Gupta said Lostutter "has never accepted moral responsibility" for his actions, and called him a "shakedown artist" and a "cyberbully" during Wednesday's sentencing hearing, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported afterwards.

"He certainly was not a white knight in this matter," the judge acknowledged Wednesday, according to the newspaper.

"His actions ignited protests, hundreds of unknown masked individuals paraded through our town, thousands and thousands of death threats were issued via email, telephone messages, facsimile, anonymous letters - virtually every form of communication was used to threaten and terrify the people of Steubenville," Jane Hanlin, a prosecutor from Ohio, wrote in a victim statement.

Lostutter has until May 8 to surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prison and begin serving the 24-month prison sentence, according to the Herald-Leader. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Noah McHugh, the hacker who executed the fansite breach and who was Lostutter's co-defendant, pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced in January to eight months behind bars.

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March 9, 2017


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