A former Northeastern College track-and-field coach was arrested in reference to a scheme to trick feminine athletes into sending him nude or seminude pictures, federal prosecutors introduced on Wednesday.
The previous coach, Steve Waithe, 28, of Chicago, was charged with one depend of cyberstalking and one depend of wire fraud, the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement.
From October 2018 to February 2019, Mr. Waithe labored as a track-and-field coach at Northeastern College in Boston, in response to the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace. Throughout that point, prosecutors stated, he requested to make use of feminine athletes’ cellphones “below the pretense of filming their type at observe and at meets,” in response to the assertion. At occasions, he was noticed “scrolling via” the telephones whereas holding the units as if he had been recording video, the criticism stated.
Starting in February 2020, Mr. Waithe orchestrated a scheme to trick feminine athletes into sending him nude or seminude pictures of themselves, prosecutors stated.
Mr. Waithe contacted the victims via social media accounts and claimed that he had discovered compromising pictures of them on-line and supplied to “assist” them get the pictures faraway from the web, the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace stated.
Whereas utilizing assorted pseudonyms, together with variations on “Privateness Protector,” “Katie Janovich” and “Anon,” Mr. Waithe requested the pictures from the scholars, ostensibly to conduct “reverse picture searches,” in response to the assertion.
From at the least June 2020 via October 2020, Mr. Waithe cyberstalked at the least one athlete at Northeastern by way of messages on social media, an anonymized telephone quantity and an intrusion into her Snapchat account, prosecutors stated.
In keeping with the assertion, the investigation revealed that Mr. Waithe’s web browser historical past included searches for data on tips on how to hack Snapchat accounts and visits to web sites with titles like, “Can anybody hint my pretend Instagram account again to me?”
Mr. Waithe additionally reached out to victims below the premise of “athlete analysis” or “physique improvement examine,” prosecutors stated.
Figuring out himself as “Katie Janovich” or “Kathryn Svoboda,” he emailed potential victims and described a phony examine for athletes “and requested data regarding top, weight and weight loss program habits,” in response to the assertion.
The emails, prosecutors stated, additionally requested the ladies to ship pictures of themselves in a “uniform or bathing swimsuit to indicate as a lot pores and skin as attainable” and instructed that the pictures wouldn’t be shared or saved.
The emails included attachments of pattern nude and seminude pictures of “Katie” to show what kinds of photos the victims ought to ship, court docket paperwork stated.
Investigators stated they’d recognized greater than 10 victims of the so-called physique improvement examine ruse and over 300 associated nude and seminude pictures in Mr. Waithe’s e mail accounts.
Mr. Waithe was fired from Northeastern College in February 2019 “on account of a college investigation into his inappropriate conduct towards feminine student-athletes,” Renata Nyul, a spokeswoman for the college, stated in an announcement.
“Impacted college students had been supplied with sources for counseling and holistic assist for his or her well-being,” she stated, including that the college police labored with federal regulation enforcement within the case.
Mr. Waithe beforehand labored as a track-and-field coach at different educational establishments, together with Penn State, Illinois Institute of Know-how, College of Tennessee and Concordia College Chicago, in response to the charging paperwork.
Calls to telephone 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 gives for a sentence of as much as 5 years in jail, three years of supervised launch and a effective of $250,000, in response to the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace.
The wire fraud cost gives for a sentence of as much as 20 years in jail, three years of supervised launch and a effective of $250,000, the workplace stated.