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Petitions Seek to Defend Hacker Who Helped Bring Justice for Steubenville Rape Victim Against Federal Charges

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Note: Information, photos and video may contain graphic details of sexual assault.

 

After being filmed and photographed with breasts exposed and fully naked, purportedly urinated on, and sexually assaulted by two, possibly more, teenagers, a then-unconscious 16 year-old girl soon discovered the unwanted truth from social media and the local paper.

 

Though participants quickly deleted photographs, videos and tweets of their night with the girl two days later, anonymous Internet hackers tracked and pulled much of the online content.

 

Hacktivist groups, KnightSec and Anonymous, published images and video of the events online, putting Steubenville, Ohio in the national spotlight. Their efforts, called "Op RedRoll," pulled in reporters from CNN, the New York Times, and even the UK’s Guardian.

 

Yet, in a twist of events, hacker Deric Lostutter of Kentucky, may face up to ten years in prison for hackivist activity. According to Reuters, the FBI is investigating his role in the efforts to uncover and publicize those involved in the rape. Lostutter belonged to KnightSec, which was responsible for releasing the viral video of a former Big Red baseball player, Michael Nodianos, joking about the rape.

 

Lostutter wrote on his blog, and Huffington reported that on April 15, he opened his door to a SWAT team “in full riot gear” on his doorstep. Aiming M-16 assault rifles at his head, they ordered him to "[sic] Get The F__k Down" and handcuffed him, his brother, and his brother’s girlfriend.

 

During the raid, Lostutter’s laptop, two cellphones, flash drives, CDs, and an external hard-drive and his brother’s X-Box 360 were seized. Afterwards, he wrote he was warned not to speak, or he would face additional charges for “destroying/tampering with evidence.” 

 

Lostutter, or KYAnonymous, might face federal offense charges specifically for the hacking of rollredroll.com, a Steubenville High School football team fan page. According to Huffington, under the FBI's warrant, he also is being investigated for "aggravated identity theft" and "identity theft, attempt and conspiracy."

 

 

The video, posted in December 2012 on rollredroll.com, is of a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask demanding a public apology from the attackers. In the footage, the masked man threatened to reveal social security numbers and other sensitive information of those involved if they didn't apologize.

 

Though Lostutter admitted to being the man in the video, he does not claim responsibility for hacking the website or posting the video. Instead, a 22-year-old from Virginia, under alias "BatCat," claimed responsibility for hacking the fan page, according to Reuters earlier this month.

 

Furthermore, in contrast, Anonymous alleges that the publisher of rollredroll.com, Jim Parks, may have received photos of the “various conquests” of females by the “Rape Crew,” involving Mays and Richmond. Parks denied the allegations, calling the hackers a "terrorist group" and the claims as "totally false, completely absurd and totally unfounded," as reported by the Atlantic Wire in January.

 

 

Petitions and the Whistleblower Defense League

You can petition the White House, or re-post the cause, to have the investigation dropped at the White House’s petition site, or at Change.org. A total of 100,000 signatures are needed for the first petition, and Change.org has a goal of 1 million names.

 

You can also contribute to the Whistleblower Defense League, legal activist group defending Lostutter. The Defense is committed to defending journalists, whistleblowers and hackers in court. Click here to learn more.  

 

 

 

 

Contributions by check will also be accepted by mail at:

Whistleblower Defense League

P.O. Box 9506

Santa Fe, NM 87504

or online at www.wepay.com/donations/deric-lostutter--ky-anonymous-defense-fund. Contact the League for any related questions at 1-505-467-8288.

 

Another petition, sponsored by CREDO action, has gathered nearly 45,000 signatures.  

 

Steubenville: a brief background

Surrounded by three boys in a basement, naked and confused, were only a handful of details the West Virginia teenager could recall the night of her rape.


In the midst of bystanders, “Jane Doe” was filmed and photographed with breasts exposed or entirely undressed, as two high school students groped her in the back of a car, allegedly raped her in a basement, purportedly the county prosecutor’s house in Steubenville, Ohio. 

 

Incriminating texts messages, Instagram photos, tweets and videos were soon deleted as soon as word spread around two days after the girl’s parents had contacted the police in August 2012. 
 

Members of the Steubenville local high school football team, Big Red, however, soon faced a tide of anonymous Internet hackers who had already pulled images from the incident and re-posted them online on different website, such as Local Leaks, now taken down. However, Alexandria Goddard, a former Steubenville resident, is credited with initiating and leading the effort to pull related content from the web. 

 

Two local high school football players, Trent Mays, then 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, then 16, were arrested that same month.

 

In addition to rape, Mays was charged was charged for distributing nude photos of a minor. He shared a picture he took of the girl’s naked body with semen on her stomach—which he admitted was his. However, he called the act consensual. 

 

Moreover, news of Big Red's football coach, Reno Saccoccia's inaction and alleged indifference would later surface in text messages. Mays wrote in a cellphone message, presented in court, that the coach would "take care of it" and that “[Saccoccia] was joking about it so I’m not that worried.” Saccoccia was criticized for his handling of the defendents. Despite possible knowledge the players' actions, he did not bench the players.

 

The hactivist group KnightSec posted video, tweets and a now infamous Instagram photo (above) that went viral and created a media frenzy documented by the New York Times to the UK's Guardian news.

 

The hackers' website brought national media attention to an incident in which the town was sharply divided over support for the victim. Even local officials, the county prosecutor and judge, distanced themselves from the event, recusing themselves from the trial. They allegedly had ties with the football team and the prosecutor’s son in the incident itself.

 

In March 2013, the jury, under appointed Judge Thomas Lipps, sentenced the assailants, Richmond and Mays one and two years, in said order, in juvenile prison for rape and Mays for the additonal charge. The teens will be listed in the sex offender registry, though their names will not be searchable to the public.


Since the attack and media melee, the coach's contract has been extended and the former Big Red baseball player, Nodianos, who joked about the rape in a viral video, has dropped out of Ohio State University.