Steve Waithe, a former track and field coach out of Northeastern University has been arrested and charged with “cyberstalking and wire fraud,” according to a report from the Washington Post. Waithe, who coached the women’s track team reportedly tricked student-athletes “into sending him nude and seminude pictures of themselves,” an allegation that was uncovered by a school-led investigation that resulted in Waithe’s termination in February of 2019.
Waithe reportedly went to incredible lengths to acquire photos of the athletes under his care, which he then used to allegedly blackmail them. According to the investigation, Waithe would ask a student for her phone ahead of a track meet, claiming he needed the phone’s camera function to record her form. Then, Waithe would scroll through the student’s photo roll and send himself any explicit or personal photos. Waithe allegedly created fake social media accounts to contact his students, claiming he had found the photos online and if they wanted the photos “scrubbed” from the internet they would have to pay him. In some cases, he would allegedly ask for more photos. “Under this pretense, it is alleged that Waithe requested additional nude or seminude photos that he could purportedly use for ‘reverse image searches,” the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement.
Despite being fired from the Northeastern track team in 2019, Waithe allegedly continued to harass his former team members well into 2020. The Post reports that Waithe allegedly “sent more than 100 messages, including dozens of compromising pictures” to six women, some of whom were still running track for Northeastern.
One complaint against Waithe details how he allegedly accessed a woman’s Snapchat account by posing as a member of “Snapchat’s Support Team” in order to “steal intimate photos” of the woman. Waithe allegedly then sent these photos to the woman’s boyfriend claiming he was trying to help get them removed because someone else more nefarious had them.
If Waithe is convicted of both charges of cyberstalking and cyberfraud he could face up to 25 years in prison.