The Guy Who Helped Catch Steubenville Rapists May Spend More Time in Jail Than Suspects

Lostutter’s revealing himself does not come for a good reason: he isn’t coming out to be celebrated for aiding in the capture of two violent sexual criminals. He is coming out because the FBI raided his house with a warrant, accusing him of ‘computer crimes’ and ‘aggravated identity theft,’ as well as ‘identity theft attempt and conspiracy.’ Lostutter’s account of his arrest is shocking:

If he is fully prosecuted for his ‘crimes,’ he could spend 10 years in prison, five times as long as the rapists will. If the details we have so far are correct, the government thinks that going after rapists when incompetent law enforcement will not is a crime more serious than rape itself.

The exact crime that Lostutter is being accused of is leading the group that ‘hacked’ a Steubenville sports fan page (if you consider guessing someone’s password ‘hacking.’ I don’t. I consider wearing weird future clothes and quickly typing lines of code on an old school green text computer monitor to be ‘hacking’). The webmaster’s emails were leaked, which lead to lots of revelations with regards to the identities of the rapists and those that heralded and protected them.

Lostutter and his cohorts were offended that not enough was being done to prosecute the rapists, so they helped with the talents they had: computer stuff. They also became embroiled in the archiving and re-releasing of incriminating social media communications, protesting and eventually capturing the attention of the media. To me, this seems more like activism for protecting a young girl – a young girl who was being persecuted by her community for trying to press charges – NOT a crime.

As a vigilante and likely nerd, he probably sees himself as a digital Batman of sorts: helping catch criminals outside the law without resorting to serious physical violence (remember, Batman doesn’t kill). The police in Gotham City – other than Commissioner Gordon – also had issue with Batman. Vigilantism is a tough moral question: if law enforcement is incompetent, does that give citizens the right to go after the bad guys? Doesn’t this lead to a slippery slope with regards to the definitions of “going after” and “bad guys”? Today I support Lostutter, but tomorrow I won’t support the lynching of a shoplifter, obviously. That’s the issue with vigilantism – the slippery slope. But of course 

KnightSec helped release the disgusting video of Michael Nodianos that was such a huge part of bringing media attention to the Steubenville case. Obviously Nodianos shouldn’t be prosecuted, that would be an extreme violation of free speech – being a d*ck isn’t illegal – but this video will hopefully follow him for the rest of his life, from dates to job interviews to new neighbors. No one who encounters Nodianos shouldn’t see this video first. Nodianos’ tweets, also put forth by KnightSec, greatly helped bring furor to the case.

Lostutter is being defended by lawyers from the Whistleblower’s Defense League, who hope the United States “comes to its senses and decides not to indict”, and if they do, will “aggressively litigate the incident.” And they should. Lostutter committed his crimes for good reason, and only did so because the law enforcement involved was either incompetent, or refused to prosecute for some bizarro political reason. Lostutter and pals took a stand against rape culture, a corrupt town and rape itself, and they obviously should not be prosecuted for it.