Thursday, January 03, 2013

Anonymous-affiliated hacker group gathers previously scrubbed evidence to use against 'The Rape Crew'

McAfee predicted in its 2013 Threat Report that Anonymous would decline in importance this year. If this is an example of what Anonymous has planned for 2013, we hope McAfee is wrong.

KnightSec, a hacking group affiliated with the “Anonymous” collective, posted a YouTube video on Wednesday. That video shows teenager Michael Nodianos basking in the "glory" of the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl by his high school football player teammates.

Why did Anonymous, or rather, KnightSec, go to these lengths? Because it appears there may be an injustice on the way: Steubenville, Ohio is a football-crazed town of about 18,000, and residents and other teens are reluctant to assist the authorities in their prosecution of these, the town’s teenage football stars.

The incident occurred in late August, when two players on Steubenville High School’s acclaimed football team, The Big Red, reportedly drugged a 16-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her. They allegedly carried her unconscious body by the wrists and ankles from party to party, urinating on her. They finally abandoned her at her parents’ house.

The players, Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays are currently on house arrest in Steubenville after being remanded from the county juvenile detention center.

For those living in the city, it's a tough case to prosecute. A juvenile court judge and a Steubenville county prosecutor have both had to recuse themselves from the case because of ties to the football team. Samuel W. Kerr, the juvenile court judge told the New York Times, “Everybody knows everybody.”

To aid investigators, who found their efforts stonewalled, KnightSec created a WikiLeaks-style site called “Local Leaks.” There it put up a dossier about the so-called "Steubenville Rape Crew.” There is information not just about the team, but about Big Red head coach Reno Saccoccia, new information about team boosters as well as the aforementioned YouTube video.

The video was just one of the things that the bright trio posted to the Internet after the crime, including Instagram images, tweets, and Facebook posts. Nodianos' video is a result of the pair allowing their friends to take photos and make their own updates and videos about the incident.

Those pieces of evidence were scrubbed from the Web, but KnightSec is trying to restore them, to help in the case. One such piece of evidence is the image recovered by KnightSec, above.

Meanwhile, the video, embedded, will -- not may -- be disturbing to people other than perhaps residents of Steubenville, who have been accused of ignoring crimes committed by their football team. Some -- in a manner that seemed to be protecting the team members -- have made statements that put the girl on trial, not the teenagers.

For example, Nate Hubbard, 27, a volunteer Big Red coach, accused the victim of covering up a night of partying with a fake rape charge. He said:
The rape was just an excuse, I think. What else are you going to tell your parents when you come home drunk like that and after a night like that?

She had to make up something. Now people are trying to blow up our football program because of it.
"Blow up our football program?" That statement shows the mentality of Hubbard, if not the entire city. Nodianos statements, however, seen in video, are hard to ignore, no matter how the city will try, which is why KnightSec has posted the video along with the other documentation.

In the video, Nodianos says to the camera:
She is so raped right now. There won’t be any foreplay for a dead girl. It ain’t wet now, to be honest. Trust me, I’m a doctor.
Adding that the victim was “deader than a doornail," he listed a number of famous people that the teenage victim was “deader than,” including “OJ Simpson’s wife” as well as “John F. Kennedy,” slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, and -- showing extreme class based on the victim's age -- Caylee Anthony.

He also added that his friends "pissed on her,” confirming one of the allegations about his friends.

Under normal circumstances, it would be difficult for the defense team to assert Hubbard's fake rape defense, with all the information in the video, including Nodianos saying, “They raped her more than the Duke lacrosse team,” slapping his thigh and laughing when a teammate asks, “Is she going to feel it?” To that, Nodianos responded, “No, she’s dead!”

However, the dossier provided by KnightSec showed just how tough prosecution will be. For example, coach Saccoccia frequently has breakfast with the county sheriff. One of the boys accused of suppressing evidence of the crime is the son of a county prosecutor.

KnightSec has made it quite clear, though, that they are pursuing only a small part of the team. On Local Leaks, they say:
It is important to state at this point in the disclosure that not all of the Big Red football team are rapists or criminals. In fact, the vast majority of young people involved with the team are good, honest and hardworking athletes simply trying to do the best they can. The focus of this investigation has centered upon a very small group of miscreants who are known by their peers and fellow students as “The Rape Crew”.
Whether or not the hacker group succeeds in their pursuit of justice in this case remains to be seen.

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