One of the anonymous heroes of the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case revealed his identity to Gawker on Thursday afternoon. Deric Lostutter, posting under the name KYAnonymous, was one of the instrumental members of a group of hacker-activists who, using the collective name Anonymous, accused Steubenville officials of trying to cover up the rape of a 16-year-old by two star high school football players and released a steady drip of information about the case that helped propel it into the national spotlight. Lostutter became the masked face of Anonymous when, in a video, he outed some members of the football team who participated in the rape or the celebration of it and threatened more outings if the rapists did not apologize to the victim.
So why is Lostutter outing himself now? Because he’s afraid of retaliation from the FBI, who raided his house in April with a warrant to search for evidence for the hacking of RollRedRoll.com, Steubenville High School’s athletics team page where hackers posted that video of Lostutter outing the rapists and their friends. Lostutter says he had nothing to do with this particular action, and another hacker, Batcat, has taken credit. If Lostutter is convicted of hacking, he faces up to 10 years in prison, which, as Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones points out, is far more serious than the one- and two-year sentences given to the Steubenville rapists.
Still, the story has its uplifting side, because the man behind the mask is not who you’d (or I guess who I’d) expect him to be. Lostutter, who gave an interview to Mother Jones on Thursday, lives in Kentucky, seems to be part good ol’ boy and part bro. The 26-year-old is a cybersecurity consultant who likes motorcycle riding, Bud-drinking, flag-flying, and turkey hunting. He’s also an amateur rapper who goes by the name Shadow:
Lostutter’s self-outing confirms that it was young men taking the lead in agitating for justice in Steubenville, when most anti-rape activism tends to be run by women. Lostutter explained his interest in the case in fairly simple terms: “I was always raised to stick up for people who are getting bullied.” Hopefully, Lostutter’s legal troubles won’t discourage more men in the future from sticking their necks out to defend women against sexual violence.