With all of the many faux scandals running wild these days, it might be hard to recognize the real deal when it comes along, but this is a real scandal. KYAnonymous, a hacker who helped to expose the Steubenville cover up of the brutal rape of a 16-year-old girl, is possibly facing more prison time than the two convicted rapists.
Ultra Violet started a petition to urge the government to drop their charges. They write, “Deric Lostutter, also known as KYAnonymous, helped expose the now-infamous Steubenville, Ohio teen rape case and cover-up.2 Without his work, we don’t know if Jane Doe would have ever received justice…
Now, he’s facing 10 years in prison for his role in “hacking” and uncovering this awful crime–while the actual rapists will serve no more than 2 years.
This is flat out wrong, and outrage is building ever since news of this story broke on Friday. The U.S. Attorney and the Department of Justice could decide not to prosecute Lostutter, reduce the charges, or take prison time off the table. Public pressure is what brought justice in Steubenville in the first place, and public pressure can help end this witch hunt against Lostutter. Can you sign the petition telling the U.S. Attorney and the Department of Justice that Lostutter is a hero, not a criminal?”
Lostutter told Mother Jones in an exclusive interview that Steubenville officials are behind the FBI investigation, “They want to make an example of me, saying, ‘You don’t [expletive] come after us. Don’t question us.'” He also told Mother Jones that he chose to intervene because “I was always raised to stick up for people who are getting bullied.”
In Lostutter’s case, he had no choice but to expose the corruption to the public and media, because the very government officials he was exposing were refusing to do their job. Much of what he revealed were tweets and Instagram photos first published and later deleted by the Steubenville football team, in which they were mocking the victim.
Maybe the government should be thanking him instead of locking him up, since they claimed they couldn’t access this evidence. As pointed out by Josh Harkinson writing for Mother Jones, Batcat, a different hacker, has taken the credit for hacking the football team’s website.
Lostutter did not jeopardize national security with his actions, and he didn’t out innocent people. He very carefully revealed the information that justified that legal action be taken against the now convicted rapists.
In the digital age, we have great power to track people, and a loss of privacy. Often, people do not handle that power well. However, the Steubenville case is an example of where that power was used judiciously and righteously to expose a corrupt town, and get something akin to justice for a young girl. Without Lostutter and KnightSec, the dark secrets of Steubenville would not have been uncovered. Yes, hacking is illegal, but then, so is erasing evidence, ignoring evidence, destroying evidence, and raping someone — especially an underage girl, who appears to be passed out.
Lostutter didn’t set out to hack innocent people for kicks, or to further a political agenda. He didn’t do it for revenge, and he didn’t do it out of spite. He did it to right a clear and obvious wrong. It’s outrageous that he faces more prison time than two convicted rapists. Lostutter isn’t the person who chose to attack a young girl, record it, laugh about it, and share it with the world. He is the person who captured those moments when the police were pretending there was no evidence.
I get that Steubenville is embarrassed by his actions, but they should be. Instead of punishing him and making a martyr of him, they might consider taking responsibility for their ugly contributions to the rape culture. If they are successful in sending him to prison for longer than the convicted rapists, it only sends the message that once again, they don’t get it. The rape was the original crime, and the alleged cover up of the rape the secondary crime. Being exposed for incompetence and willful neglect of protecting all citizens is embarrassing, but the remedy is in their hands.
Ultra Violet is urging those who agree with their outrage to sign their petition telling the government, “Deric Lostutter helped expose the rape of a teen girl that corrupt local authorities were trying to sweep under the rug. Your office should be thanking him, not charging him with a crime that carries a longer sentence than the rape itself. Don’t prosecute Deric Lostutter.”
Image: Mother Jones
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.