A computer hacker who lived in Clark County and used the online name KYAnonymous has admitted he illegally accessed a computer to get involved in a notorious 2012 rape case in Steubenville, Ohio.
Deric Lostutter, 29, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to hack a website associated with Steubenville High School athletics and to a second charge of lying to an FBI agent investigating the breach.
Lostutter faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, but his sentence will likely be less than that.
U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves scheduled sentencing in March. He allowed Lostutter to remain free pending sentencing.
Lostutter now lives in North Carolina but lived in rural Clark County when two Steubenville High football players were charged with raping an unconscious 16-year-old girl in August 2012.
The case received national attention because of the role social media played in spreading information about the assault, and because it raised troubling questions about the callousness of some teens.
Other teens shared comments and photos of the girl online, including one showing her naked and passed out, according to the New York Times.
The girl didn’t remember what happened afterward, but text messages and cellphone photos documenting what happened became evidence against the two players, the Times reported.
In December 2012, months after the assault, Lostutter and a Virginia man, Noah McHugh, agreed to hack into a fan website for Steubenville High athletics.
The two got access to the account management page of the site and the email of the man who ran it, which included nude photos, according to Lostutter’s plea.
Lostutter made a video to post on the site threatening to reveal personal identifying information about Steubenville High students.
He also claimed, falsely, that the man who administered the fan site was a child pornographer and ran a “rape crew,” according to his plea agreement.
Lostutter and McHugh — whose online name was “JustBatCat” — took control of the site and McHugh posted Lostutter’s video and the administrator of the website’s private emails on it, according to the plea.
Lostutter said in court that he was associated with the hacking collective Anonymous.
He told Reeves he decided to get involved in the Steubenville case because the administrator of the website had discredited the girl who was victimized, and felt that others who saw the girl’s plight but didn’t help her should be held accountable.
The idea behind the threat to post personal information about students was to get them to tell on each other, he said.
Lostutter said he also felt some school officials were involved in a cover-up.
“We wanted to stand up for a girl who had no voice. I went about it the wrong way,” Lostutter told Reeves.
However, the plea Lostutter signed said he and McHugh wanted to harass and intimidate people and gain notoriety and publicity for their online identities.
There had been considerable media coverage about the crime before the two got involved in the case.
McHugh, of Alexandria, Va., pleaded guilty in federal court to one charge of accessing a computer without authorization, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.
He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.