Coach Was Fired for 'Inappropriate Conduct.' Then a Sick Scheme Emerged

Steve Waithe allegedly fooled students into sending him nude photos
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2021 10:25 AM CDT
Coach Was Fired for 'Inappropriate Conduct.' Then a Sick Scheme Emerged
In this Jan. 31, 2019, file photo, pedestrians walk near a Northeastern University sign on the school's campus in Boston.   (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi, File)

A former track and field coach at Northeastern University amassed 300 nude and semi-nude images of student athletes using an elaborate scheme involving social media, according to prosecutors. Steve Waithe, 28, of Chicago—who's also coached at the University of Tennessee, Penn State, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and Concordia University Chicago—worked at Northeastern in Boston from October 2018 until February 2019, when he was fired for "inappropriate conduct toward female student athletes," according to the school. Prosecutors say he was known to scroll through students' phones during practices and meets, per NBC Boston. But it was after his firing that they say he began contacting victims, claiming he'd found compromising photos of them on the internet and could erase them—if only he had nude images for reverse image searches.

He allegedly posed as law enforcement and a representative of a social media company, claiming "it was his job to do image scrubbing," per WFXT. He allegedly told one student, "You have to share with me basically every picture you have that you wouldn't want on the internet" because "that's the only way I can search them." Prosecutors say he also posed as a woman conducting "athlete research" or "body development" studies. In emails, he allegedly asked for photos of students showing "as much skin as possible" and attached nude and semi-nude images as examples. Authorities identified at least 10 victims but say there may be more. Arrested Wednesday, Waithe is charged in federal court with cyberstalking at least one student whose Snapchat account was breached. He's also charged with wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. (More Northeastern stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.