Former collegiate track coach charged for allegedly trying to extort nude photos from student-athletes

A former collegiate[1] track and field coach was arrested and charged in Chicago on Wednesday for allegedly employing a scheme to trick female-student athletes into sending him nude or semi-nude photos of themselves.

Former Northeastern University[2] track and field coach Steve Waithe, 28, faces one count of cyberstalking and one count of wire fraud over his alleged scheme to dupe the student-athletes using fake social media[3] accounts.

Beginning in at least February 2020, “Waithe perpetrated a scheme to trick female then-current or former Northeastern University Track and Field athletes into sending him nude or semi-nude photos through the use of sham social media accounts and stolen or otherwise compromised photos of the victims,” an affidavit from FBI[4] special agent Mark Wilson said.

SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE THE FUTURE OF STUDENT-ATHLETE PAY IN NCAA[5]

Waithe, using Instagram accounts, allegedly contacted the victims and told them he found compromising photos of them online and offered to “help” them remove the photos from the internet, according to the criminal complaint[6] against him.

“In perpetrating the scheme, Waithe repeatedly employed the same basic pattern of conduct: disclosure of compromising photos of the victim, a claim that the photos had been discovered online, and a request for additional photos,” the complaint said.

One of Waithe’s alleged fake accounts was under the name “Katie Janovich.”

The complaint portrayed Waithe’s interaction with one victim: “Under the pretense that ‘Katie’s’ own compromising photos had also been found online, Waithe repeatedly requested more photos from Victim 1, writing, ‘I’ll send you all the personal ones if you send me you[;] that’s the only way[.] I also saw another girl that you might know too. But only if you send yours.’”

Since June 21, 2020, through on or about Oct. 3, 2020, Waithe cyberstalked at least one female then-current or former Northeastern student-athlete “through messages sent via social media and intrusion into her social media account(s),” Wilson said in the affidavit.

When the Washington Examiner reached out to Northeastern University for details about the incident and Waithe’s employment at the school, Renata Nyul, vice president of university communications, 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 counseling and other resources.”

“The university also contacted federal law enforcement officials and worked in full cooperation for the duration of the federal investigation,” Nyul added. “The university does not comment on active litigation or criminal trials. All inquiries should be referred to the United States Attorney’s office for the District of Massachusetts.”

The charge of cyberstalking[7] provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The wire fraud charge has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER[8]

Waithe’s college coaching career included stints at Penn State University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Tennessee, Northeastern University, and Concordia University Chicago. He will make an initial appearance in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois on Wednesday afternoon and will appear in Boston at a later date.

References

  1. ^ collegiate (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
  2. ^ Northeastern University (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
  3. ^ social media (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
  4. ^ FBI (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
  5. ^ SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE THE FUTURE OF STUDENT-ATHLETE PAY IN NCAA (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
  6. ^ criminal complaint (www.justice.gov)
  7. ^ cyberstalking (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
  8. ^ CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER (washingtonexaminer.com)