BOSTON () – A former athletic coach at Boston’s Northeast University was arrested on Wednesday and accused of using fake social media accounts to try to get female athletes to send him nude photos of themselves, prosecutors said.
Steve Waithe, 28, of Chicago, is accused of creating false social media accounts to contact athletic athletes and of helping to get rid of compromising photos of them he allegedly found online.
He sent pictures of the victims he obtained and tried to persuade them to send him more explicit photos so that he could “reverse look up the pictures,” authorities said in court documents.
Prosecutors say Waithe also regularly asks female athletes to use their cell phones in practice and meets to film them. One victim told authorities she had seen Waithe scroll on the phone at least once instead of recording.
No lawyer for Waith, who is accused of computer transmission and fraud in a Boston federal court, was listed in the court records. He was arrested in Chicago and later on Wednesday was expected to talk there.
Waithe worked in the Northeast from October 2018 until February 2019, when, according to the school, she was fired as a result of a university investigation into his “inappropriate behavior toward students.”
“The students concerned were provided with counseling and other resources.” The university also contacted federal law enforcement officials and cooperated fully throughout the federal investigation, “said Renata Nyul, a spokeswoman for the Northeast.
In one case, authorities said Waithe contacted the victim via an Instagram account, claiming that he was trying to help people whose nude photos had “leaked” to take pictures offline. He sent the victim nude photos of herself, which she told the authorities were stored on her cell phone. She said she gave Waith her phone several times to film her form during the exercise, prosecutors said.
Officials say Google records show that Waithe searched for, among other things, “Instagram can be traced” and visited a website called “Can someone trace my fake Instagram account?”
Waithe is also accused of cyberbullying a victim by sending her nude photos to her friend, hacking into her Snchat account and using an anonymized phone number to text her. Authorities say the other victims were the target of a separate program to get women to email his photos under the pretext of “athlete research” or “body development.”
Waithe sent e-mails under the woman’s personality requesting information about height, weight and eating habits, and asked for photos in “uniforms or swimsuits to show as much skin as possible,” prosecutors said. The e-mails often contained attachments of explicit photographs of his fake personality as a guide and promised to send the victim’s gift cards at the end of the study, authorities said.
Prosecutors say investigators found more than 10 victims of the “body development” scheme and identified more than 300 explicit images of victims in Waithe’s Google Accounts.
According to the applicants, Waithe also trained at Penn State University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Tennessee and Concordia University Chicago.