Who is Steve Waithe? FBI nabs Chicago ex-track coach who tricked female students into sending him NUDE pics
He also reportedly requested to use the cellphone of female athletes under the 'pretense of filming their form at practice and at meets'
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Steve Waithe has been charged by a criminal complaint with one count of cyberstalking and one count of wire fraud, as per a news release from the Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts. He was arrested on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, by the FBI in Chicago and his first federal court appearance was in the Northern District of Illinois the same afternoon. On a later date, he will have a court appearance in Boston.
He was arrested and charged in connection with a "scheme to trick female student-athletes, through sham social media accounts, into sending him nude or semi-nude photos." He has also allegedly been accused of stalking "at least" one female student-athlete.
Who is Steve Waithe?
Waithe, from Chicago, Illinois, is a former track and field coach at various universities such as Penn State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Tennessee, and Concordia University Chicago. As per his charging documents, he worked as a track and field coach at Northeastern University in Boston from October 2018 to February 2019. His allegations are from his time at the university where he reportedly requested to use the cellphone of female athletes under the "pretense of filming their form at practice and at meets." The news release further reports that she was also "at times observed scrolling through" the female athlete's phones.
The release read, "Beginning in at least February 2020, Waithe allegedly perpetrated a scheme to dupe female Northeastern University track and field athletes into sending him nude or semi-nude photos of themselves. Specifically, Waithe contacted the alleged victims through social media accounts, stated that he had found compromising photos of them online and offered to "help" get the photos removed from the internet. Under this pretense, it is alleged that Waithe requested additional nude or semi-nude photos that he could purportedly use for “reverse image searches.” He used various pseudonyms on social media including variations of the phrase “Privacy Protector,” “Katie Janovich,” and “Anon” followed by various numbers."
It added, "The investigation revealed that internet search and browsing history tied to Waithe allegedly included searches for information on how to hack Snapchat accounts and visits to webpages with titles like, 'Can anyone trace my fake Instagram account back to me?' Under the purported premise of an “athlete research” or “body development” study, it is alleged that Waithe emailed prospective victims using the personas of “Katie Janovich” and/or “Kathryn Svoboda.” The emails described a phony study for athletes and requested information relating to height, weight and diet habits."
Furthermore, the emails also asked them to send their photo sin uniform or bathing suit to show as much skin as possible” adding that the pictures would not be shared or saved. The emails also allegedly had attachments of "sample nude and semi-nude images of 'Katie'" The court documents reveal that 10 victims of this alleged "body development study" were identified, and "over 300 related nude and semi-nude images of victims" on the accused's email accounts.
As for the sentencing Waithe could face, the released read, "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."
PEOPLE rreported that there is a hearing set on Friday for Waithe to decide if he is to remain detained. His attorney, Jack Corfman said that his client had no criminal history adding that he is not "accused of publicly releasing the images or retaliating against anyone who didn't send him photos."