Hacker Who Exposed Steubenville Rapes May Face More Prison Time Than Rapists He Exposed


An online activist who was instrumental in pushing the Steubenville rape story into the national spotlight has shed his anonymity and granted an interview to Mother Jones. As previously reported at Reason 24/7, Deric Lostutter, who is affiliated with the group Anonymous, was raided by the FBI under suspicion of hacking into a Steubenville High School sports fan page

Lostutter denies hacking into the site and writes on his blog that he has received a "Target Letter," meaning that the government is summoning a grand jury to build a federal case against him. The warrant references four separate federal charges, including "Computer Crime," meaning he could face up to ten years in federal prison for the hacking-related charges. Recall that before he committed suicide, online activist Aaron Swartz faced 35 years in prison for similarly murky "computer crimes." The actual Steubenville rapists received one-to-two year sentences.

Lostutter's description of the FBI raid on his house is a telling reminder that brute force is practically standard operating procedure for U.S. law enforcement. Via Mother Jones:

At first, [Lostutter] 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."

This is not the first time that actors on the periphery of this case have faced legal trouble. Earlier this year, First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza spoke to Reason TV about a whistleblowing Ohio blogger whom he successfully helped defend against defamation charges she faced after publishing commentary, photos, and social network posts related to the case. Watch below.

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  1. Anonymous is garbage, so meh.

    1. Go back to /v/ and stay there.

  2. Is this the day of the sociopathic prosecutor? What evil fuck would go after someone who exposed some rapes that would never have seen the light of day, and who denies having done anything illegal to do so? I mean, is finding out if this guy engaged in some minor hacking worth it?

    It’s almost as if they are going after whistleblowers of any kind, not just governmental, to strike as much fear as possible into all potential whistleblowers. Ya think?

    1. I really just think it’s resume padding at all cost. Prosecutors get boners for anything they can possibly charge, whether the charges make sense or will stick. They will overcharge this dude knowing with almost certainty that they’ll get something out of it. Something other than justice, of course.

      1. But is it really resume padding to go after a person who helped expose rapes? I mean, “I put away this guy who got some rapists thrown in jail who would otherwise be walking around” isn’t a great campaign talking point, is it?

        1. I didn’t say they were smart about it. From what I can tell, it’s a kind of blind lust for convictions or plea agreements or whatever. I don’t know if the people who advance careers for prosecutors care as much as perhaps the voting public how this looks.

          But who knows, you could be right. There could be a broad, maybe tacit directive to hit any and all whistleblowers to discourage the practice.

          1. Whistleblowers rock the boat. People in first class don’t like their boats rocked.

            1. The Captain demands the boat only rock his way!

        2. But he isn’t trying to put away someone who exposed some rapes – he’s trying to put away a member of “Anonymous” the most feared hacker organization on the planet!

      2. I’ll go with the resume padding law, since the evidence has gone far beyond a theory.

        It used to be a bit haphazard. Back in the 1980s a bank bomber was apprehended, a guy who planted 7 month duration time bombs in banks across the land. One time bomb blew up in a SF Bank of America safety deposit box one month too early, before his manifesto landed in the mail boxes of newsmen from Manhattan to Berkeley. Also, he was Abbie Hoffman’s manservant during the 1968 Democrat Convention.

        He was sentenced to only nine years in a 1986 plea bargain. He served a shade over 3 years, and I am not sure if that was in prison or a half-way house.

        One big thing that sounds like a resume padding deal from his case was his “threat” to withdraw his guilty plea if the judge did not give him a recommendation for parole in minimum time (perhaps that is not phrased right). I am sure the real lawyers around here have more insight into that than I.

        Reports from 1972 set the 40 charges against him in a range from 90 to 120 years, and he did not surrender in ’86, he was captured, but it was reported that he was “testing the waters for a surrender” three years before he was nabbed.

        Something tells me his guilty plea scored more for the federal prosecutor than a long sentence for a terrorist.

      3. I think they’re hoping the summary will be, I busted somebody who had something to do with some crime or alleged crime. Whether it was a perp, victim, person in the vicinity…nobody’s going to remember. They’re all crime figures.

    2. So much for “see something, say something”.

      1. “Don’t Snitch” seems to have a bigger social following, for whatever that is worth.

    3. What evil fuck would go after someone who exposed some rapes that would never have seen the light of day, and who denies having done anything illegal to do so?

      Someone associated with the evil fucks who didn’t do a whole shitload to prosecute them to begin with?

    4. Well when you have have a dozen fbi agents with thousands of dollars worth of military gear you have to give them some non dangerous teenage geek to show how couragous they are. Those medals for valor aren’t going to give themselves away.

      1. Too bad Lostutter wasn’t a Chechen immigrant bomber or a nutball Army major known for raving about jihad, because then the FBI wouldn’t have charged in with a SWAT team before there was any violence.

        Proportionality, how does it work?

        1. Same way it always works with bullies. The weakefrthe target, the bigger they act.

    5. Uh wait.

      If some guy with a beef against me started hacking computer systems looking for evidence of my wrongdoing, who gives a fuck if he finds something or not? Those are private records and I want him punished as much as I would want some federal agent prosecuted for unauthorized access.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad those rapists are in jail. But if that had been cops illegally accessing a website to gather evidence, reason would be calling for their heads, saying that such methods can’t be condoned irrespective whether their targets really were bad. Why is it different if the perp is a private citizen?

      1. I think he was sent the information, which was gleaned from twitter and instagram, and helped disseminate it. They seem to be nailing him on having hacked the school computers, which he denies doing and someone else had previously claimed responsibility for. As far as I can tell the only illegal action here was hacking the school’s website.

        1. Fine- you contend that he isn’t guilty. The prosecutor thinks otherwise- that a crime was committed.

          I don’t see anything outrageous about the police investigating if they have a reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed. What are they supposed to do? Look the other way, just because he helped put away rapists?

      2. Even if he was breaking the law, is this an appropriate response given the circumstances?

        “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,”

        1. I agree that it is over-zealous. My dispute is with the implication that this is ‘different’ since he helped put away rapists. So far as I can tell, he is being investigated for computer crimes in roughly the same way anyone in the US is. I agree that practice ought to be mitigated.

      3. Since rape is generally considered a far worse crime than computer hacking, you could possibly make a justification defense for the computer hacking.

  3. This is not the first time that actors on the periphery of this case have faced legal trouble

    Well of course! Did you nerds think there would be no consequences to getting a couple of jocks in trouble? Just be glad their daddies didn’t request for your dogs to be shot.

    1. Clarification: should have said “white jocks”. Jocks of non-white persuasion don’t have daddies with deep ties into power structure.

    2. The N-word is verboten. The correct term is geek.

  4. “Aaron Swartz FACED 35 years in prison for similarly murky “computer crimes.” The actual Steubenville rapists RECEIVED one-to-two year sentences.”

    Hey uh, Zach, there’s a difference between the sentence someone FACES and what they’re likely to receive.

    That 35 year sentence Swarts FACED was a maximum he wasn’t likely to get, the 2 years the Steubenville rapists RECEIVED was the actual sentence they got once a judge had taken all the sentencing factors into account – they FACED a much larger sentence.

    You see the difference between what the accused FACE and what they RECEIVE?

    1. Isn’t the delta between what you face in federal court, and what you get, much smaller due to sentencing guidelines? Not saying the USA doesn’t have the power to pick and choose which charges to run with in the indictment, just saying I thought federal judges had a lot less leeway, even post-Booker, to depart from the guidelines. Hence, if the USA goes with charges that have 35 year sentences, odds are that the guy is going to get a 35 year sentence if found guilty.

      This does though look like an attempt to crack back on, not just a whistleblower, but one who also made the local authorities look pretty bad.

    2. Was going to say something similar. I’ll just leave this link

      1. Was going to link from Popehat but was too lazy – thanks.

        Gray Ghost – you should read that link – it has a very good explanation of the difference between what a defendant faces and what they end up getting, written by a former federal prosecutor. It shows you that, even with the limited latitude that federal judges have, that there’s a wide range of sentences that can be handed down for the same offense.

  5. We’re fron the government and we’re here to FUCK….you up.

  6. According to the mojo article, he’s a total mensch with bad taste in beer.

    A 26-year-old corporate cybersecurity consultant, Lostutter lives on a farm with his pit bull, Thor, and hunts turkeys, goes fishing, and rides motorcycles in his free time. He considers himself to be a patriotic American; he flies an American flag and enjoys Bud Light. He’s also a rapper with the stage name Shadow, and recently released a solo album under the aegis of his own label, Nightshade Records. The name dovetails with that of his Anonymous faction, KnightSec.

    Lostutter first got involved in Anonymous about a year ago, after watching the documentary We Are Legion. “This is me,” he thought as he learned about the group’s commitment to government accountability and transparency. “It was everything that I’d ever preached, and now there’s this group of people getting off the couch and doing something about it. I wanted to be part of the movement.”

  7. What the fuck did he even do? The article says he posted tweets and instagrams from people bragging about the assaults. Even if they had been deleted or made private, how the hell is it hacking to repost something that someone else puts online for others to view?

    1. Dude, looking at an internet site on your work computer that the company forbids is hacking nowadays.

    2. He messed with football.

      You can rape children for decades in this country and the people around you will cover up your crimes without you even asking if you’re integral to the local football program.

      Because fat fucking Americans love their panem at circenes more than their own children.

      1. Football is our state religion. Priests fondling boys is a horror but college football coaches not so much, those boys get to take one for the team.

  8. OK wow lets rol lthat beautiful bean footage!


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