CHICAGO (CBS) — A college track and field coach from Chicago was arrested Wednesday, accused of tricking female student-athletes into sending him nude photos.
Steve Waithe, 28, was charged with one count of cyberstalking and one count of wire fraud. Waithe was arrested Wednesday and appeared for an initial court hearing on Tuesday afternoon. At the hearing, prosecutors call Waithe’s conduct “intimidating” and he “abused a position of trust,” adding the alleged conduct was still occuring this month. He has been living in Chicago for the past two years with his girlfriend.READ MORE: Family Escapes House Fire In Brighton Park
According to charging documents, Waithe was employed as a track and field coach at Northeastern University in Boston from October 2018 to February 2019. Waithe is accused of creating fake social media accounts to contact track and field athletes and offering to help get rid of compromising photos of them he claimed to have found online.
He would send pictures he had obtained of the victims and try to persaude them to send more explicit photos to him so he could “reverse image search,” authorities said in court documents.
Prosecutors say Waithe also would regularly ask to use female athletes’ cellphones at practice and meets so that he could film their form. One victim told authorities that at least once she saw Waithe scrolling on her phone instead of recording.READ MORE: Protesters Pack Logan Square Over Police Shooting Of Adam Toledo
According to charging documents, Waithe previously worked as a track and field coach at Penn State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Tennessee and Concordia University in River Forest, Ill.
Northeastern fired Waithe as a result of a university investigation into his “inappropriate conduct toward female student athletes.”
“Impacted students were provided with resources for counseling and holistic support for their wellbeing. The Northeastern University Police Department also alerted federal law enforcement officials and worked in full cooperation for the duration of the federal investigation.” Renata Nyul, a Northeastern spokesperson, said in an email
Waithe is accused of cyberstalking one victim by sending nude photos of her to her boyfriend, hacking into her Snapchat account, and using an anonymized phone number to text her. Authorities say additional victims were the target of a separate scheme to get women to send photos of him via email under the guise of “athlete research” or “body development.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Rising Temperatures Through The Weekend But Snow Possible Next Week
The charge of cyberstalking provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.