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 photographs, 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, based on the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace. Throughout that point, prosecutors mentioned, he requested to make use of feminine athletes’ cellphones “beneath the pretense of filming their type at follow and at meets,” based on the assertion. At occasions, he was noticed “scrolling by way of” the telephones whereas holding the gadgets 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 photographs of themselves, prosecutors mentioned.
Mr. Waithe contacted the victims by way of social media accounts and claimed that he had discovered compromising photographs of them on-line and provided to “assist” them get the photographs 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 photographs from the scholars, ostensibly to conduct “reverse picture searches,” based on the assertion.
From at the very least June 2020 by way of October 2020, Mr. Waithe cyberstalked at the very least one athlete at Northeastern through messages on social media, an anonymized cellphone quantity and an intrusion into her Snapchat account, prosecutors mentioned.
Based on the assertion, the investigation revealed that Mr. Waithe’s web browser historical past included searches for info on the way to hack Snapchat accounts and visits to web sites with titles like, “Can anybody hint my faux Instagram account again to me?”
Mr. Waithe additionally reached out to victims beneath the premise of “athlete analysis” or “physique improvement examine,” prosecutors mentioned.
Figuring out himself as “Katie Janovich” or “Kathryn Svoboda,” he emailed potential victims and described a phony examine for athletes “and requested info regarding peak, weight and weight-reduction plan habits,” based on the assertion.
The emails, prosecutors mentioned, additionally requested the ladies to ship photographs of themselves in a “uniform or bathing swimsuit to point out as a lot pores and skin as doable” and instructed that the photographs wouldn’t be shared or saved.
The emails included attachments of pattern nude and seminude photos of “Katie” to show what varieties of footage the victims ought to ship, courtroom paperwork mentioned.
Investigators mentioned they’d recognized greater than 10 victims of the so-called physique improvement examine ruse and over 300 associated nude and seminude photographs 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 a press release.
“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 educational establishments, together with Penn State, Illinois Institute of Expertise, College of Tennessee and Concordia College Chicago, based on 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 tremendous of $250,000, based on 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 tremendous of $250,000, the workplace mentioned.