Former Northeastern University track and field coach Steve Waithe was arrested Wednesday for a scheme in which he was reportedly duping athletes into sending him nude or semi-nude photos.
A filing released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts showed that Waithe was arrested in Chicago. The 28-year-old was “charged by criminal complaint with one count of cyberstalking and one count of wire fraud.”
Waithe made an initial appearance in federal court Wednesday in the Northern District of Illinois. The Attorney’s Office release said that the former coach was “arrested and charged today in connection with a scheme to trick female student-athletes, through sham social media accounts, into sending him nude or semi-nude photos. The defendant also allegedly cyberstalked at least one female student-athlete.”
Waithe has coached track at Penn State, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Tennessee and Concordia University Chicago, but the arrest stems from his time at Northeastern University in Boston. While coaching there from October 2018 until February 2019, Waithe allegedly “frequently requested to use female athletes’ cellphones under the pretense of filming their form at practice and at meets. At times, he was observed ‘scrolling through’ the phones.”
“Beginning in at least February 2020, Waithe allegedly perpetrated a scheme to dupe female Northeastern University track and field athletes into sending him nude or semi-nude photos of themselves,” reads the Attorney’s Office release. “Specifically, Waithe contacted the alleged victims through social media accounts, stated that he had found compromising photos of them online and offered to ‘help’ get the photos removed from the internet. Under this pretense, it is alleged that Waithe requested additional nude or semi-nude photos that he could purportedly use ‘reverse image searches.’ He used various pseudonyms on social media including variations of the phrase ‘Privacy Protector,’ ‘Katie Janovich,’ and ‘Anon’ followed by various numbers.”
Court documents allege that, from at least June 21, 2020 to Oct. 3, 2020, Waithe cyberstalked at least one female Northeastern student-athlete through social media messages, an anonymized phone number and “intrusion into her Snapchat account.”
Waithe also allegedly used pseudonyms to email athletes about a phony study while requesting information on height, weight and diet habits and asking them to send photos of themselves in a “uniform or bathing suit to show as much skin as possible.”
Court documents show that investigators identified more than 10 victims of the “body development study” scheme and more than 300 related nude and semi-nude images of victims in Waithe’s email accounts.