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 images, 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 mentioned in an announcement.
From October 2018 to February 2019, Mr. Waithe labored as a track-and-field coach at Northeastern College in Boston, in keeping with the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace. Throughout that point, prosecutors mentioned, he requested to make use of feminine athletes’ cellphones “below the pretense of filming their type at observe and at meets,” in keeping with the assertion. At occasions, he was noticed “scrolling by way of” the telephones whereas holding the units as if he had been recording video, the criticism mentioned.
Starting 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 way of social media accounts and claimed that he had discovered compromising images of them on-line and supplied to “assist” them get the images faraway from the web, the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace mentioned.
Whereas utilizing assorted pseudonyms, together with variations on “Privateness Protector,” “Katie Janovich” and “Anon,” Mr. Waithe requested the images from the scholars, ostensibly to conduct “reverse picture searches,” in keeping with the assertion.
From a minimum of June 2020 by way of 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.
In response to the assertion, the investigation revealed that Mr. Waithe’s web browser historical past included searches for data on easy methods 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 growth research,” prosecutors mentioned.
Figuring out himself as “Katie Janovich” or “Kathryn Svoboda,” he emailed potential victims and described a phony research for athletes “and requested data regarding top, weight and food plan habits,” in keeping with the assertion.
The emails, prosecutors mentioned, additionally requested the ladies to ship images of themselves in a “uniform or bathing swimsuit to indicate as a lot pores and skin as potential” and instructed that the photographs wouldn’t be shared or saved.
The emails included attachments of pattern nude and seminude pictures of “Katie” to exhibit what kinds of footage the victims ought to ship, court docket paperwork mentioned.
Investigators mentioned they’d recognized greater than 10 victims of the so-called physique growth research ruse and over 300 associated nude and seminude images 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, mentioned in an announcement.
“Impacted college students had been supplied with assets for counseling and holistic assist for his or her 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 Expertise, College of Tennessee and Concordia College Chicago, in keeping with the charging paperwork.
Calls to cellphone numbers related to Mr. Waithe’s identify 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 fantastic of $250,000, in keeping with the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace.
The wire fraud cost offers for a sentence of as much as 20 years in jail, three years of supervised launch and a fantastic of $250,000, the workplace mentioned.