Track Coach Tricked Students Into Sending Him Nude Photos, U.S. Says

A former Northeastern University track-and-field coach was arrested in reference to a scheme to trick feminine athletes into sending him nude or seminude images, federal prosecutors introduced on Wednesday.

The former coach, Steve Waithe, 28, of Chicago, was charged with one depend of cyberstalking and one depend of wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement.

From October 2018 to February 2019, Mr.
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Waithe labored as a track-and-field coach at Northeastern University in Boston, in keeping with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. During that point, prosecutors mentioned, he requested to make use of feminine athletes’ cellphones “under the pretense of filming their form at practice and at meets,” in keeping with the assertion. At instances, he was noticed “scrolling through” the telephones whereas holding the units as if he had been recording video, the grievance mentioned.

Beginning in February 2020, Mr. Waithe orchestrated a scheme to trick feminine athletes into sending him nude or seminude images of themselves, prosecutors mentioned.

Mr. Waithe contacted the victims by social media accounts and claimed that he had discovered compromising images of them on-line and supplied to “help” them get the images faraway from the web, the U.S. Attorney’s Office mentioned.

While utilizing assorted pseudonyms, together with variations on “Privacy Protector,” “Katie Janovich” and “Anon,” Mr. Waithe requested the images from the scholars, ostensibly to conduct “reverse image searches,” in keeping with the assertion.

From a minimum of June 2020 by October 2020, Mr. Waithe cyberstalked a minimum of one athlete at Northeastern through messages on social media, an anonymized cellphone quantity and an intrusion into her Snapchat account, prosecutors mentioned.

According to the assertion, the investigation revealed that Mr. Waithe’s web browser historical past included searches for info on how you can hack Snapchat accounts and visits to web sites with titles like, “Can anyone trace my fake Instagram account back to me?”

Mr. Waithe additionally reached out to victims underneath the premise of “athlete research” or “body development study,” prosecutors mentioned.

Identifying himself as “Katie Janovich” or “Kathryn Svoboda,” he emailed potential victims and described a phony examine for athletes “and requested information relating to height, weight and diet habits,” in keeping with the assertion.

The emails, prosecutors mentioned, additionally requested the ladies to ship images of themselves in a “uniform or bathing suit to show as much skin as possible” and recommended that the photographs wouldn’t be shared or saved.

The emails included attachments of pattern nude and seminude photographs of “Katie” to show what varieties of footage the victims ought to ship, courtroom paperwork mentioned.

Investigators mentioned that they had recognized greater than 10 victims of the so-called physique growth examine ruse and over 300 associated nude and seminude images in Mr. Waithe’s e mail accounts.

Mr. Waithe was fired from Northeastern University in February 2019 “as a result of a university investigation into his inappropriate conduct toward female student-athletes,” Renata Nyul, a spokeswoman for the college, mentioned in a press release.

“Impacted students were provided with resources for counseling and holistic support for their well-being,” she mentioned, including that the college police labored with federal legislation enforcement within the case.

Mr. Waithe beforehand labored as a track-and-field coach at different tutorial establishments, together with Penn State, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Tennessee and Concordia University Chicago, in keeping with the charging paperwork.

Calls to cellphone numbers related to Mr. Waithe’s title weren’t instantly returned on Wednesday. It was not instantly clear whether or not he had a lawyer.

The cyberstalking cost offers for a sentence of as much as 5 years in jail, three years of supervised launch and a high quality of $250,000, in keeping with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The wire fraud cost offers for a sentence of as much as 20 years in jail, three years of supervised launch and a high quality of $250,000, the workplace mentioned.

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