The furor surrounding the Steubenville, Ohio rape case was sparked in large part by the raucous entrance of the hacktivist collective Anonymous into the story. Anonymous members organized digital and real-life protests and leaked information about the case, occasionally going beyond the law in their efforts to raise awareness and avenge the victim.
Gawker has learned the leader of that campaign was raided by the FBI in April in connection to a hacking and identity theft investigation sparked by Anonymous' Steubenville campaign. Now, he is revealing his identity, in anticipation of being targeted in the investigation.
He is Deric Lostutter, a 26-year-old who lives in Winchester, Kentucky. On April 15, the FBI executed a search warrant on Lostutter's home, taking computers, storage media, and his Xbox.
Lostutter confirmed to Gawker that he was KYAnonymous, the leader of KnightSec, the Anonymous offshoot that carried out "Operation Roll Red Roll," which targeted Steubenville over the rape by two football players of a 16-year-old girl. In a few weeks in late 2012 he became a well-known figure in the Steubenville storyline, at one point giving an interview to CNN in a Guy Fawkes mask. (The two football players were found guilty of rape in March.)
According to the warrant obtained by Gawker, FBI agents were looking for evidence related to the hacking of Rollredroll.com—the website of a Steubenville High School booster club that was defaced during the height of the Steubenville campaign—and the unauthorized access of the webmaster's email address. Rollredroll.com webmaster James Park's email account was broken into, and many of his private emails dumped online. In February, a hacker named Batcat took responsibility for the hack in an article in the Steubenville Herald-Star. He claimed he hacked Rollredroll.com in 15 minutes by guessing Jim Parks' password security question, after being approached by KYAnonymous.
In a statement posted on his website, Lostutter described the raid: "As I open the door to great the driver approximately 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."
This is my call to you, in the media, in the world of anonymous, who look to change the world to a free, transparent one, to my friends and family as well, to come to my aid, if you can find it in your heart, share my story, donate, buy a sticker, rally in the streets to demand the investigation against me be dismissed.
Lostutter is being represented by Jason Flores-Williams of the Whistleblower's Defense League, a coalition of lawyers who specializes in defending hacktivists and freedom of information campaigners. The Whistleblower's Defense League has set up a fund to raise money for Lostutter's defense.
Flores-Williams told Gawker the raid was connected to a grand jury investigation in Ohio, though Lostutter has not yet been informed that he is a target of the investigation.
"We certainly hope the United States comes to its senses and decides not to indict, and if they do we will aggressively litigate the incident," said Flores-Williams. "What's unique here to me is that it's not a national security issue. This isn't at the forefront at the NSA or the CIA. This comes out of the heartland of the country, and this is a person who is just trying to do what is right for the heartland."
A spokesman for the FBI's Cincinnati office, Todd Lindgren, said in an email, "we are unable to confirm or deny the existence of any potential investigation into this matter."
Lostutter is preparing for an onslaught:
So local news stations are picking up the story now, today is going to implode the internet.— Shadow (@shadowrapz) June 6, 2013
Here's the whole search warrant:Deric Lostutter Search Warrant (PDF)
Deric Lostutter Search Warrant (Text)