Deric Lostutter, the computer hacker known online as “KYAnonymous,” was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison for his role in illegally accessing a computer and getting involved in a notorious 2012 rape case in Steubenville, Ohio.
Lostutter, 29, had pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to hack a website associated with Steubenville High School athletics and to a second charge of lying to an FBI agent who was investigating the breach.
Lostutter had portrayed himself as a white knight and whistleblower who stopped a government and media cover-up of the rape case, assistant U.S. Attorney Neeraj Gupta said.
“Not only was there not a coverup, … but he didn’t help this investigation at all,” Gupta said.
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Lostutter acknowledged in court that he should have left the investigation to local officials in Ohio. He said he had apologized to the webmaster whose site was hacked.
“I try to lead a law-abiding life,” Lostutter told U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves.
Gupta, however, said Lostutter “has never accepted moral responsibility” for his actions. And Reeves said Lostutter was “a shakedown artist” and a “cyberbully” who continued to issue threats to others, including a woman who might have been a witness against him after he was charged by federal authorities.
“He certainly was not a white knight in this matter,” Reeves said in court.
The two-year sentence was the maximum that Lostutter could have received for his offenses. Lostutter is to report to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons no later than May 8.
Defense attorney Tor Ekeland asked that Lostutter be assigned to a prison closest to his home in North Carolina.
Lostutter lived in rural Clark County when two Steubenville High School football players were charged with raping an unconscious 16-year-old girl in August 2012.
The case received national attention because of the role that social media played in spreading information about the assault.
In December 2012, months after the assault, Lostutter and a Virginia man, Noah McHugh, agreed to hack into a fan website for Steubenville High School athletics. The two obtained access to the account management page of the site, which included nude photos, and the email of the man who ran it, 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 falsely claimed that the man who administered the fan site was a child pornographer and ran a “rape crew,” according to his plea agreement.
Jane Hanlin, the Ohio prosecuting attorney who recused herself from the rape case, said in a written victim impact statement that “absolutely everything that could be done to solve this crime had been done in August 2012. … And yet, Mr. Lostutter took it upon himself to invade our town, threaten our young people and ignite an international firestorm.”
Hanlin wrote that she and her children received threats because of Lostutter.
“His actions ignited protests, hundreds of unknown masked individuals paraded through our town, thousands and thousands of death threats were issued via email, telephone messages, facsimile, anonymous letters — virtually every form of communication was used to threaten and terrify the people of Steubenville,” Hanlin wrote.
Several supporters submitted letters seeking leniency for Lostutter. One wrote, “I believe Deric did these things to help the victim and her family. To be a hero. To not just be a bystander.”
Once released from prison, Lostutter will be under supervised release for three years. During that time he is prohibited from working in the information technology field. He also must not possess a computer without the approval of probation authorities.
Reeves also directed Lostutter to not harass or threaten other people or their families.
McHugh, the Virginia man charged in the hacking case, was sentenced in January to eight months in prison.