On the heels of news that Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, the Ohio high school football players who raped an intoxicated and unresponsive 16-year-old girl, may be moved from a juvenile detention center to a decidedly less strict and privately run rehabilitation center, the anonymous (and Anonymous) leaker who shined the national spotlight on those two boys and the town of Steubenville has revealed himself, announcing that he needs help to pay for the FBI raid on his home and the legal case against him. These two tangential yet pertinent updates arrive as the grand jury hearing in the ongoing investigation is still, silently, on its second three-week break in determining more guilt — but the hacker appears to be the first person in the case other than the rapists in serious trouble with the law.
Deric Lostutter (aka KYAnonymous) came forward on his website today — and to Gawker — in a plea for help. Under his pseudonym, Lostutter was the leader of #OpRedRoll, the Anonymous hacking collective's operation that transformed an August incident at post-game parties in a small football team from a single New York Times story lost in the midst of the Newtown shootings into, instantly, a social-media firestorm that got uglier on every side with each new revelation, viral video, and salacious text message. Indeed, the leaks managed to turn a small case in Ohio juvenile court into a year-long national conversation about rape, sports, and victim-shaming. Lostutter, like many who familiarized themselves with the case through Anonymous and the upstart LocalLeaks, felt local law enforcement and school officials in the fading southeastern Ohio steel town weren't doing enough to investigate the parties thoroughly or punish members of the team. As KYAnonymous, Lostutter was integral in raising questions about the county sheriff, organizing protests, and finding the deleted, disgusting 12-minute video of Michael Nodianos making fun of the Jane Doe victim in the case.
Now, Lostutter feels like he's the one who's been punished. "As I open the door ... 12 F.B.I. 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. I was handcuffed and detained outside while they cleared my house," Lostutter writes on his website, referring to a mid-April raid on his Kentucky home by the FBI.
To be sure, the local police were struggling to find evidence, and the FBI began to help on the case once that national spotlight arrived. According to the warrant for the raid, it appears the FBI was looking for information pertaining to the hack of RedRoll.com, a booster site for Steubenville's football team:
The site was run by one Jim Parks, a fan of the high school's football team, Big Red, which was in many ways the pride of the whole town. Parks's email was hacked, and the contents were dumped on LocalLeaks, a WikiLeaks-style site that gathered tips from around Ohio and nearby West Virginia (some funneled in from Lostutter) about the town's seedy underbelly as well as what the site called the Steubenville "rape crew." Local Leaks had stated — in its unconfirmed, intriguing, and seemingly slanderous way — that Parks was friendly with the boys and may have had pictures of underaged women in his inbox (Lostutter said this charge was completely untrue). "Tips received from anonymous high school students in Steubenville have indicated it is possible James Parks was receiving images from 'The Rape Crew' of their 'various conquests," LocalLeaks wrote at the time. And now it seems the hackers may have been wrong after all.
"I would like to also extend my personal apologies to Jim Parks, The FBI Stated that the girls Noah allegedly found in his email are all over 18, On behalf of anonymous I am sorry for the embarrassment that caused you, I am also glad we were wrong about the age," Lostutter writes on his site. Still, those are very serious and very damaging allegations. And it harkens back to the question, raised by the prosecution after the guilty verdict came down on Mays and Richmond, of how much good Anonymous did — and whether they went too far. Special prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter said the hacks forced investigators to work harder, but that it also made the victim's life harder to cope with after the rape:
In terms of the victim's identity and the pressure put on the victim, Anonymous's attention to the case put so much more pressure on her ... and other witnesses, we had pretty good working relationships with some of the witnesses that you heard from, but once Anonymous hit there was a chilling effect.
And in regards to Lostutter, the hacking of a private citizen's email was involved, and that's what he says got him in trouble. He explained that someone else even admitted to the hacking — and that the FBI said they were watching him before the hack on Parks:
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. Let us not forget that Batcat did the hack, as stated in the Herald ARTICLE HERE which by all accounts is a clear admission of guilt. So I am curious to see the charges, as is the lawyer I have teamed up with, Jason Flores-Williams of the WhistleBlower Defense League.
It's unclear if Lostutter's investigation is connected to the grand jury in Steubenville, which is still, after convening in late April, investigating whether or not more people should be charged in connection with the case. The jurors aren't looking for more perpetrators so much as proof of a cover up or tampering with evidence. Regardless, Lostutter is asking for donations.
Meanwhile, Mays and Richmond appear to be on the move. "Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said ... the judge will likely approve the move at a June 14 hearing in Jefferson County Juvenile Court," reports WKBN-TV. As noted by the sheriff (yes, that same sheriff), the transfer would move the boys from their current state-run detention facility to a privately-run "residential rehabilitation center" called the Lighthouse Youth Center at Paint Creek, which "has no bars or fences outside on their 33-acre property."
"The privately operated center is an open campus where staff members rely on their relationship with residents to prevent escapes. Staff and children live together at the facility, which has shown success in keeping teens treated there from committing new crimes," reports CBS News. Though the move appears all but certain, Judge Thomas Lipps will still have to decide a classification of sex offender for each of the boys. In Ohio, there are three levels of offense, the most lenient being a Tier 1, wherein criminals are required to register as sex offenders every year for 10 years.
Mays's attorney, Brian Duncan, told CBS his client was happy about the move: "Our client looks forward to the opportunity to attend the Paint Creek program, follow all the facility rules, and display to the Court and the community that he has been rehabilitated fully in hopes of returning to his family."