10 years in prison for exposing Steubenville?
Who should be punished: rapists, or the people who bring their crimes to light?
When prosecutors in Steubenville, Ohio, were dragging their feet in the case of a horrific rape and cover-up, it was national outrage — fueled by the public release of photos and video showing high school football players carrying the victim in an intoxicated state, and laughing about the incident — that finally pushed them to action.
But now, the person who helped expose and publicize the pictures and video from that awful incident in Steubenville, and forced authorities to prosecute the rapists, could get 10 years in prison for his role in bringing this evidence to light. Shockingly, this is a longer sentence than will be served by the convicted rapists themselves.1
This is an outrageous miscarriage of justice. Tell the Department of Justice: Don’t prosecute Deric Lostutter.
Four months after the Steubenville rape, it was clear that police were dragging their feet with the investigation. A blogger forwarded Lostutter pictures and video of the rape, and that’s when he became involved.
By posting the images online and helping them gain recognition, Lostutter — and those he worked with — increased awareness of the rape allegations and brought to light an apparent cover-up by local authorities. And the result was progress in bringing the rapists to trial.
But Lostutter was recently targeted by an aggressive FBI raid for his participation in bringing that evidence to light. A dozen agents with weapons confiscated computers belonging to Lostutter, his girlfriend, and his brother, while putting him in handcuffs outside his home.2
Tell the Department of Justice: Drop your prosecution of Deric Lostutter, who helped uncover valuable evidence that led to the conviction of two rapists.
We don’t know the full extent of Lostutter’s indictment, but the warrant to search his home includes charges of "computer crimes" and "aggravated identity theft," as well as "identity theft, attempt and conspiracy" for allegedly hacking a fan website related to the Steubenville football team. These charges can carry prison sentences of up to 10 years in jail.
The rapists who committed the crime, and were convicted in March, are receiving just one- and two-year prison terms, respectively. The idea that the person who helped uncover their crime might be given a prison sentence five or 10 times as long as the rapists is just unconscionable. And that's why we're partnering with our friends at Ultraviolet to raise awareness about this.
Public pressure was the impetus that helped bring justice to the Steubenville rapists, and now public pressure can help end the prosecution of Deric Lostutter.
Tell the Department of Justice that enough is enough: Don’t prosecute Deric Lostutter.
The FBI is targeting Lostutter in a dramatic display of overreach. Just two people involved in the rape have been convicted, while dozens who were peripherally involved and shared the images after the fact have gotten off scot-free. Those are the people who should be prosecuted for crimes that have caused real and meaningful harm to a young woman who was drugged, raped, and then publicly shamed.
Thank you for standing up to this injustice.
1. Hunter Stuart, "FBI Raid On Deric Lostutter, AKA KYAnonymous, Was In Connection With Steubenville Hack," Huffington Post, June 7, 2013.
2. Josh Harkinson, "Exclusive: Leader of Anonymous Steubenville Op on Being Raided by the FBI." Mother Jones, June 6, 2013.