November 23, 2016 / 9:40 PM / 3 years ago

Hacker who highlighted notorious Ohio rape case pleads guilty

(Reuters) - A Kentucky computer hacker pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring to break into a website to draw attention to a notorious rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, as well as to his own online profile.

Deric Lostutter, 29, pleaded guilty in federal court in Lexington to one count of conspiracy and one count of making false statements to law enforcement agents after hacking into a site for fans of the Steubenville High School football team, according to court records.

He said he intended to draw attention to the arrest in August 2012 of two high school football players in the rural Ohio town for raping an unconscious 16-year-old girl.

The crime prompted national headlines, in part because social media exchanges between students helped provide much of the evidence that led to the players’ arrest and subsequent conviction after the girl was unable to recall details of the assault.

In his plea agreement, Lostutter, who aligned himself with the hacker collective Anonymous, admitted that he conspired with another hacker, Noah McHugh, to gain access to a Steubenville fan site in December 2012, four months after the arrests and days after a New York Times feature brought intense media attention.

Lostutter, known as KYAnonymous online, posted a video threatening to expose personal information about Steubenville students.

The two men intended “to bring attention to the August 2012 rape, to harass and intimidate people, and to gain notoriety and publicity for their online identities,” according to his plea agreement.

McHugh pleaded guilty to illegally accessing a computer in September.

Lostutter is scheduled to be sentenced in March and faces up to five years on each charge, though he is unlikely to get a maximum term.

His defense lawyer declined to comment.

Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Scott Malone and Steve Orlofsky

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