Remember that awful case in which a couple of high school football stars in Steubenville, Ohio, raped a young girl? Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were brought to justice thanks to an anonymously hacked cellphone video that revealed the teenage victim was in fact unconscious at the time of the crime.

But in a twist that goes to show how thankless activism can be in our society, Deric Lostutter, the 26-year-old former Truthdigger of the Week responsible for leaking the harrowing clip, is facing a longer prison sentence than the violators themselves. The moral here is that when the NSA hacks into our devices to “fight terrorism,” it’s an act of patriotism but when a civilian attempts to expose injustices, it’s a crime punishable with 10 years in prison.

To add insult to injury, Richmond has recently been released from a juvenile detention center for “good behavior” merely months after being convicted. The Political Blind Spot blog reports:

The Richmond family released a statement, following the release, which focused on how hard the past 16 months have been for Ma’Lik. The attorney for Ma’Lik’s rape victim noted there was no apology made to her in that statement.

“Although everyone hopes convicted criminals are rehabilitated, it is disheartening that this convicted rapist’s press release does not make a single reference to the victim and her family — whom he and his co-defendant scarred for life. One would expect to see the defendant publicly apologize for all the pain he caused rather than make statements about himself. Rape is about victims, not defendants. Obviously, the people writing his press release have yet to learn this important lesson,” attorney Robert Fitzsimmons said.

The mass media have been more sympathetic toward the rapists than the victim from the get-go, with outrageous statements spewing from news outlets like CNN, which harped on and on about the teens’ “bright futures” being destroyed by the conviction. Now the justice system’s warped priorities have also come to light as prosecutors try to lock up Lostutter for his courageous attempt to right a wrong.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig