LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) A Kentucky man who aligned himself with the hacker group Anonymous pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to hack an online account to draw attention to a 2012 high school rape case in Ohio and to gain publicity for his online persona.
Deric Lostutter, who sought attention under the online persona ''KYAnonymous,'' entered the plea in federal court in Lexington to charges of illegally accessing a computer and lying to an FBI agent, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey. Lostutter was to have faced trial next month.
Lostutter and Noah McHugh acknowledged hacking a website dedicated to sports at Steubenville High School in Ohio, and posting among other things a video that referred to the Ohio rape case, according to Harvey's office.
Lostutter filmed a video wearing a mask and wrote a manifesto, which were both posted on the website to bring attention to the 2012 rape case, to harass and intimidate people and to gain publicity for Lostutter's and McHugh's online identities, according to the plea agreement.
The messages threatened to reveal personal information about high school students and made false claims against the administrator of the fan website, the statement added.
Authorities said Lostutter faces up to 10 years in prison on the charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 8.
McHugh of Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty in September to accessing a computer without authorization. He is set to be sentenced in December and faces up to five years in prison, officials said.
Two football players from the Ohio school, who had already been charged, were later convicted of raping a West Virginia girl at a party.
The hack in December 2013 drew media coverage to the rape case and authorities say Lostutter and McHugh used their online identities in social media and news interviews to promote themselves and their actions.