A FORMER Northeastern University track and field coach has been accused of "tricking female athletes into sending him naked pictures," court documents say.
On Wednesday, Steven Waithe, 28, of Chicago, Illinois was arrested and charged in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts after allegedly tricking his students into sending him nude images.
From October 2018 to February 2019, Waithe would often asked female athletes if he could use their cellphones and pretended to film their form at practice, according to charging documents.
During these instances, the track coach could be seen scrolling through the students' phones, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.
Last February, he allegedly started tricking these women into sending him naked or partially nude pictures via their social accounts.
Court filings state Waithe would claim he found compromising pictures of these women online and offer to get them scrubbed from the internet.
“Waithe contacted the alleged victims through social media accounts, stated that he had found compromising photos of them online," said Acting US Attorney Nathaniel Mendell’s office.
"[He] 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 for '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.“
He allegedly cyberstalked at least one female Northeastern student-athlete by direct messaging her online, an anonymous cell number, and via Snapchat account from around June 21, 2020 to Oct. 3, 2020, authorities say.
According to the charging documents, he was nabbed by search and browsing history.
Waithe allegedly searched about hacking Snapchat accounts and looked up pages like “Can anyone trace my fake Instagram account back to me?”
He is also accused of emailing potential victims with these bogus names like “Katie Janovich” and/or “Kathryn Svoboda” about a fake athletics study that required giving information about their height, weight, and diet, according to Mendell.
The attorney's office said: “The emails also included a request for the victims to send photos of themselves in a ‘uniform or bathing suit to show as much skin as possible’ and suggested that the photos would not be shared or saved.
"The emails often included attachments of sample nude and semi-nude images of 'Katie' to illustrate the types of photos that victims should send,”
Waithe allegedly had 10 victims of the “body development study” plot, investigators found.
His email account revealed over 300 nude and semi-nude images of these women, court filings showed.
A defense lawyer could not be immediately identified at the time of publication and The Sun contacted Northeastern University for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
Renata Nyul, Vice President for Communications at Northeastern, said: “Mr. Waithe was employed at Northeastern from October 2018 and terminated in February 2019 as a result of a university investigation into his inappropriate conduct toward female student athletes.
"Impacted students were provided with resources for counseling and holistic support for their wellbeing.
"The Northeastern University Police Department also alerted federal law enforcement officials and worked in full cooperation for the duration of the federal investigation.
"We appreciate the diligence of the FBI and the US Attorney’s office and the actions that resulted today."
Nyul added that the university does not comment on active litigation or criminal trials.
Waithe previously worked at Penn State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Tennessee and Concordia University Chicago as a coach.
He is facing up to 20 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine if he's convicted of wire fraud and five years in prison plus the same fine if he's found guilty of cyberstalking.
Waith appeared federal court in the Northern District of Illinois this afternoon and will appear in Boston at a later date.
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