Anonymous Participant Who Drew Attention To Steubenville Rape May Face More Years In Jail Than Rapists

from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept

As many of you know, one aspect of the infamous Steubenville rape case was that Anonymous drove a lot of attention to the case, and some participants hacked a website that was a “fan page” for the high school football team, which had two members convicted of the rape, and demanded apologies from those trying to cover up the story, and then leaked some video. That hack and demand actually helped generate significantly more media attention to the case. Now, however, one participant of Anonymous (they don’t really have “members” since there’s nothing to “join”) who had helped publicize the case (though, he claims, did not hack the site) has revealed himself as Deric Lostutter, after a SWAT team raided his house, and he may be facing significantly more time in jail than the rapists.

If convicted of hacking-related crimes, Lostutter could face up to 10 years behind bars—far more than the one- and two-year sentences doled out to the Steubenville rapists. Defending himself could end up costing a fortune—he’s soliciting donations here. Still, he thinks getting involved was worth it. “I’d do it again,” he says.

Once again, as if it needs to be repeated, the CFAA is completely broken.

Separately, the raid of his house seems like yet another extreme overreaction:

At first, he thought the FBI agent at the door was with FedEx. “As I open the door to greet the driver, approximately 12 FBI SWAT team agents jumped out of the truck, screaming for me to ‘Get the fuck down!’ with M-16 assault rifles and full riot gear, armed, safety off, pointed directly at my head,” Lostutter wrote today on his blog. “I was handcuffed and detained outside while they cleared my house.”

If you read his full blog post, there are many more descriptions of overreaction from law enforcement (reposted without correcting his typos or grammatical errors):

I was detained on the back patio, I asked if I was going to jail, they said no, they said who are you, I responded KYAnonymous. They asked me a few questions, asked me for my passwords for my account, stated that I could not tell anyone I was raided or I would face additional charges such as “destroying/tampering with evidence”. They pulled out ALLEGED emails between me and @justbatcat aka Noah McHugh from Noah’s inbox indicating that someone is trying to “sell me down the river”. They stated they had been watching me for a long time, prior to Jim Parks, and that I was a good guy, and even joked around a bit about the good things I have done, none the less, sincere or not, They are the FBI and to them I am Anonymous, the embodiment of a dangerous threat according to their m16 assault rifles aimed at me for a computer.

Before they departed, I asked them for names and badge numbers of each involved. I got none of them as I requested and subsequently it took me the better part of a month just to get a phone call returned for the status of my belongings let alone tracking down my case agent to columbus ohio.  I asked Agent Bixby (who in all fairness seems to be fighting for me and believes I am a good guy) the status of my belongings and they had no time table, as of this post they are still with the FBI being analyzed. I was emailed their intent to send out a “Target Letter” which means they are going to try to indict me for a Federal Offense, (most likely a felony and two misdemeanors) to a secret Grand Jury of 23 individuals, for which I can not be present to state my side, nor state my innocence.

So now the FBI is creating chilling effects for those who are seeking to expose and shame those trying to cover up the rape of a minor?

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Comments on “Anonymous Participant Who Drew Attention To Steubenville Rape May Face More Years In Jail Than Rapists”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

So rape a minor, brag about it everywhere you can but happen to be on a sports team and/or have powerful connections? Slap on the wrist and given the minimal sentence of one to two years in juvenile detention.

Hack a computer and demand a public apology from said rapists otherwise you’ll post material they took exposing their involvement? Raided by a heavily armed FBI and a SWAT team, have your stuff taken from you with no idea when or even if you’ll ever get it back, told if you say anything about it you’ll be charged with even more crimes, and charged with a felony (among other charges) in a rigged case where you aren’t allowed to present your defense or even be present.

Boy I sure am glad the US has it’s legal priorities in order, otherwise they might be guilty of massive overreactions for minor crimes, while almost completely ignoring more serious ones, causing a gross miscarriage of justice. /s

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“lynch-mobs and anonymous crowd justice even more”


THE (in)justice department is ALL ABOUT defending the banksters, covering up their crimes against humanity, and crushing whistleblowers…

you want Justice with a capital J?
ALL WE GOT are Anonymous and a couple brave whistleblowers: the gummint is against US, the korporatocracy is against US, and we have squandered every last drop of morality we had as a nation, so the WHOLE WORLD is -justifiably- against us…

stupid fucking authoritarians: once your precious authority is compromised, YOU HAVE NOTHING ! ! !

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As much as I hate crime, I hate lynch-mobs and anonymous crowd justice even more. For 1 person who might be guilty, 9 innocent people might not be. Everyone deserves due process and assumption of innocents.

I’m not a fan of lynch mobs of any sort, because they tend to react emotionally and are prone to go much farther than a reasoned protest. But they tell us something important: they happen when there is a difference between how the law functions and what a significant portion of society thinks the laws should be. The mobs are not always right – but they are an indicator that there is injustice present – it may be the people being mobbed suffering, or it may be because of some other injustice.

Rob says:

Re: Re:

As much as I hate crime, I hate lynch-mobs and anonymous crowd justice even more.

Assuming you are referring to the “Anonymous” actions in this particular case, you have a strange sense of proportion. Or maybe you don’t quite understand what a “lynch mob” really is. “Lynching,” according to Wikipedia, is: “. . . an extrajudicial execution carried out by a mob . . .” Where “execution” means “killing them to death”. In my opinion, vigilantes hunting down and killing someone is quite a bit worse than public shaming and humiliation. Even on the Internet.

This is an example of exactly the thinking that has got Lostutter in so much trouble in the first place: He committed his crime “on the Internet” and “with computers”. As such, he’s subject to harsher penalties because of . . . uh . . . the Internet. Perhaps if the rapists has instead committed “Internet Rape” then they too might have faced decades of incarceration.

Everyone deserves due process and assumption of innocents.

“Innocence” is the word you were looking for.

Milton Freewater says:

Re: Re:

“As much as I hate crime, I hate lynch-mobs and anonymous crowd justice even more. For 1 person who might be guilty, 9 innocent people might not be. Everyone deserves due process and assumption of innocents.”

What relevance does your post have to this case? Nobody was lynched. No innocent people were smeared or threatened. No crowds took justice in vigilante form.

St. Patrick says:


My understanding us that you don’t argue guilt or innocence before a *grand* jury. The purpose of a grand jury is simply to see whether there’s enough evidence to charge you. Actual guilt or innocence is argued later.

And, indeed; the defense has no right to testify before a grand jury; you haven’t actuallt been charged yet.

Anonymous Coward says:

it not only shows how broken the CFAA is but how ridiculously those in charge of law enforcement over react to what was never any chance of being other than an ordinary arrest! was there the slightest possibility of this guy being a flight risk? NO! was there the slightest risk of him being armed? NO! was there the slightest risk of him doing anything ‘illegal’ considering the whole point of what he did was to bring more attention to the despicable treatment of a young girl by males that should have known better and were hardly worried about their own sentence. why the hell did it take 12 SWAT members in full gear, pointing loaded weapons at the head of the ‘party’ with the intent of shooting, (probably hoping he would try to run so they could shoot!)for doing what any decent member of the public, certainly any father of a young girl would do? what is it with this over reaction to everything that occurs in the USA? yet when a load of unarmed civilians get shot by soldiers, nothing happens to them? it seems to me that priorities are a long way adrift here! drastic changes need to happen before there really is some serious damage done that cant be undone!

aldestrawk says:

Re: Re:

The purpose of the raid was clearly intimidation. It worked but it bothers me that law enforcement considers that sort of tactic justified. On his blog he says he had just returned from a turkey hunt. He was damn lucky the swat team didn’t show up as he was returning, gun in hand. In that sort of situation if Deric, amidst the surprise and confusion, had reacted wrongly in the slightest way without meaning to, he would have ended up with 57 bullets in him before getting a chance to say anything.
Was it just his loose affiliation with “Anonymous” that motivated the FBI to stage such an intimidating raid? Who knows, but it certainly wasn’t his record of having never been arrested before.

Anonymous Coward says:

i wonder what has got to happen to make the USA wake up and realise that the rest of the world thinks it is a total joke? how can any country be taken seriously when the citizens are told by a president elect that if they find out information of wrong doing by anyone, they need to report it and they will be protected. when that situation actually happens, how can those that have done as asked, as instructed, then be completely abandoned, then charged with hacking offenses and do jail time. what happened to the ‘protection’? as much as people know that the last one to trust is the government, when assurances have been given only to find they have totally reneged on those assurances, what steps would you then take? i think i’d broadcast it as far and as wide as i could!

MondoGordo (profile) says:

The ends do not justify the means

As much as I disagree with the CFAA and the FBI over-reaction and the DoJ’s over-prosecution of “hackers” (properly speaking crackers!) … and as much as I respect his courage of conviction and actions in this one matter.

I think it needs to be pointed out that it doesn’t make him a saint and he did break the law. The ends do not justify the means. Clearly he is being persecuted for flouting the law, an unjust, overly harsh law, but the law none the less.

The broken-ness of a “justice” system that would punish a non-violent crime more harshly than the physical abuse and rape of a child is the issue.

To suggest that he is being persecuted for bringing attention to the Stuebenville rape is asinine and detracts from the real problem.

MondoGordo (profile) says:

Re: Re: The ends do not justify the means

From the article …
“He now admits to being the man behind the mask in a video posted by another hacker on the team’s fan page,, where he threatened action against the players unless they apologized to the girl. ”
“According to the FBI’s search warrant, agents were seeking evidence related to the hacking of”

So my guess would be that he’s being investigated as an accessory to a felonious act, .

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The ends do not justify the means

“I think it needs to be pointed out that it doesn’t make him a saint and he did break the law. The ends do not justify the means. Clearly he is being persecuted for flouting the law, an unjust, overly harsh law, but the law none the less.”
That’s the point. In no world should what he’s accused of be worse than raping a girl. If the law disagrees with that, the law is wrong.

MondoGordo (profile) says:

Re: Re: The ends do not justify the means

I agree. I was simply pointing out that they are 2 separate issues. Lostutters’ belief “that the FBI investigation was motivated by local officials in Steubenville.” does not make it true.
If he broke the law because it’s a bad law and needs to be fought then his arrest is a good thing, as it is the only way the law will be found to be bad struck down.

The punishment associated with his conviction would be a travesty, regardless of the travesty of justice in the rape case.

MondoGordo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The ends do not justify the means

put another way … if the rapists were executed by firing squad or fed to a wood chipper feet first, would it make the decade of prison time for the alleged hacking used to draw attention to rape any less a travesty of justice ?

Would it be more acceptable for Lostutter or anyone else to get a decade in prison for improperly accessing someone else’s computer and doing no social or financial harm?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The ends do not justify the means

He won’t ever get a decade. He won’t get anything remotely close to a year. Hell, I’d be shocked if he ever actually set foot in a jail cell.

10 years is the maximum for a crime that can range from accessing someone’s email account to bringing a complete collapse to the New York Stock Exchange.

Anyone who even mentions the maximum sentence for a case like this is either completely clueless of the legal system, or is intentionally skewing numbers to get cheap publicity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The ends do not justify the means

“To suggest that he is being persecuted for bringing attention to the Stuebenville rape is asinine and detracts from the real problem.”

Do you mean the problem of rape on a minor bringing charges of only 1 or 2 years, or the problem of a one time website hack bringing federal charges of 10?

MikeC (profile) says:

Coverage -- not mainstream

The question here is not hacking – not whistleblowing, but where is national media coverage. Not too many folks read Mother Jones news.. unless this makes at least FOX or CNN no one hears, no response. The secret here is that our Government of the people, by the people, for the people only seeks to control the people.

Rape is salacious, makes good news (or as Don Henley says)”the bubble headed bleach blonde tells you about the plane crash with gleam in her eye” … this story goes off script of the righteous indignation. They don’t see the ratings spike.

Until the major networks aren’t cowed by the government (who are surely reading this as we type) … go along with suppression of thought, etc… you can’t get through. It’s only so much noise.

Feel the chill!

HappyFoo (profile) says:

I think everyone here is missing the point: Those poor Steubenville boys’ accounts were violated without their consent! Those accounts lay unprotected, and some nefarious hacker forced his way in, had his way with their logins and passwords, and published some embarrassing photos, videos, and tweets. Those became available for all the hacker’s friends, nay, the world, to see. Then those poor exemplars of humanity started receiving threats and were shunned by their community. Terrible! They will now have to live the rest of their lives knowing that their passwords aren’t safe, always looking over their shoulders wondering when their next account violation will happen. It’s a real shame. At least those Steubenville boys can take comfort in the knowledge that the person who assaulted and nearly ruined their lives will be in jail long after they’re released from juvie for RAPING A REAL LIFE FLESH AND BLOOD GIRL!

Jesus H. Christ on a biscuit!

Jake says:

Just in the interests of being scrupulously fair, I think it might be a good idea to find out if Lostutter’s neighbours can corroborate his version of events before we draw any firm conclusions.

And if the guy’s local TV news service or whoever can’t be bothered, well, maybe Techdirt can go into the investigative reporting business.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hold up. I’ve read this story before, and it was a load of crock then, and it’s still a load of crock now.

1) He hasn’t been charged with anything yet. Some people might place the emphasis on “yet”, but it’s important to note that he’s currently taking donations for a defence that isn’t even confirmed necessary.

2) 10 years is the maximum sentence for hacking, something that will never apply to him.

3) The maximum sentence for sexual assault is higher than 10 years. But clearly that isn’t as good a sob story, and everyone knows hackers face full sentences all the time, even if rapists never do.

So let’s summarize. Yes, he was raided by the FBI, yes he was handcuffed, but no, he never went to jail. If, or when, he does go to court, the most likely event is that he’ll receive a very simple plea bargain and probably serve a month or two of community service.

Meanwhile, he’s making this sob story viral, begging for money from his sympathizers, and raising $500,000 for a “defence fund” that will more than likely end up in his pocket.

special-interesting (profile) says:

CFAA. What a political fart/joke that act/bill/law seems to be. Any time the CFAA is implemented its always bad news.

Related but not; Better news is that congress is trying to reign in, somewhat, the ridiculous minimum sentencing guidelines (of a lot of weird special-interest-group sponsored laws) by allowing judges to ignore them when they feel they are not appropriate.

The penalties set forth in the CFAA are way, WAY out of proportion to the crimes they describe/create in the legislation they enacted. (Create?)

Its most likely that this act was written by malicious-special-interest-groups with no other intent but to further their own interests.

CFAA is spoiled meat. Rotten even in its inception.


Jail and major fines are life threatening in that they destroy lives and force a self re-boot/reorganization of the accused’s life. If the accused was guilty of a violent/physical/brutal crim then thats good.

However. If the accused is only guilty of some imaginary victim-less crime… why does this tragedy even happen? What class warfare is involved to bring this to horrible reality?

The total economic expense of such a political end is enormous. Its a minimum of three times the amount of the accused’s earnings.


There are other mitigating circumstances in this case. Its certainly White Hat hacking. (however easy it was) The skilled use and implementation of ones abilities were for the benefit of a person/society. There were no moral breaches in any way.

The CFAA is its own problem. Its another bad law that properly chosen/elected sheriffs/agencies would not enforce. (you voted for your local sheriff… what does he/she enforce???)


Due process is essential. Period… (x-three)

Mobs are a problem that we as a society must avoid. Contrast; Mass protest must be preserved. (providing that ambulances and other vital civic functions are not jeopardized.) Any Peaceful protest is a wonderful event.

Note; For every peaceful protest there are likely violent groups that want to destroy the peacefulness. Idiots! If police were actually doing their job they would be able to discriminate between them.

Peaceful protest is a vital function of any democratic society. It disrupts commerce but not society.

It is likely that the only viable participants in the fight for YOUR democracy are ?Anonymous? and the ?New World ? protesters. (excepting some now famous individuals) Praise them for fighting for YOUR freedoms.


Prosecutors seeking the maximum sentence for minor hacking charges is normal. A good example of this is the Arron Swartz’s case where the prosecution had no sense at all. An example on steroids! What reality does the DoJ relate to?


flouting the law? In what way is current law relevant to American Society? American Constitution law was supposed to protect the individual.


Not being charged with anything has noting to do with the investigation procedures. Innocent until proven guilty is a fact of any democratic society.

10 years maxim8m is irrelevant to t he minimum statuary sentence guidelines;. Community service is not an option when CFAA sentencing guidelines are used.

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