Former Northeastern University track and field coach Steve Waithe, 28, was charged today with one count of cyberstalking and one count of wire fraud for using bogus social media accounts to try to trick female student-athletes into sending him nude photos of themselves. He was arrested at his home in Chicago.
According to the criminal complaint, Waithe frequently requested to use female athletes’ cellphones under the pretense of filming their form at practice and at meets. And beginning in at least February 2020, Waithe allegedly perpetrated a scheme to dupe female Northeastern University track and field athletes into sending him the pictures.
The FBI contends Waithe contacted the alleged victims through social media, saying he had found compromising photos of them online and offered to “help” get the photos removed from the internet. Using a fake name, “Katie Janovich,” Waith is alleged to have requested additional nude or semi-nude photos that he could purportedly use for “reverse image searches” to protect victims’ privacy.
FBI Special Agent Mark Wilson said in an affidavit that Waithe cyberstalked at least one female Northeastern student-athlete through messages sent via social media, an anonymized phone number and intrusion into her Snapchat account between June and October 2020.
Waithe previously worked as a track and field coach at several academic institutions, including Penn State University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Tennessee and Concordia University Chicago. According to published reports, Waithe was a college athlete himself at Penn State University, competing in the Men’s Triple Jump Championship in 2014.
Waithe faces up to five years in prison for cyberstalking and a fine of $250,000. The wire fraud charge could lead to a sentence of up to 20 years and another fine of $250,000.