Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that a former Northeast track and field coach was arrested on charges of planning to send nude or seminar photos to female athletes.
Steve Wathe, a 28-year-old former coach from Chicago, was charged with one count of cyber crime and one count of wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. Said in a statement.
According to the US Attorney’s Office, from October 2018 to February 2019, Mr. Waithe worked as a track-and-field coach at Northeastern University in Boston. During that time, prosecutors said, she asked to use cellphones of female athletes, according to the statement. According to the complaint, many times they were seen through “scrolling” while holding down the devices as if they were recording videos.
Prosecutors said that beginning in February 2020, Mr. Waithe planned to nude female athletes or send nude photos of himself.
The US Attorney’s Office said Mr Vethe contacted the victims via social media accounts, claiming that he had tampered with her photo and offered to “help” them.
“Privacy Protector,” “Katie Janovich” and “Anon,” Mr. Vethe requested students to conduct a “reverse image search”, according to the statement, using the pseudonyms, including the variation.
Prosecutors said that through October 2020, at least until June 2020, Mr. Waithe cyberstalked at least one athlete in the Northeast via messages on social media, reporting an anonymous phone number and an intrusion.
According to the statement, the investigation revealed that Mr Waithe’s Internet browser history included information on hacking Snapchat accounts and visiting websites such as titles, such as “Can anyone locate my fake Instagram account?”
Prosecutors said Mr Vethe also reached out to victims on the basis of “athlete research” or “body development studies”.
According to the statement, identifying herself as “Katie Jonovich” or “Katherine Svoboda”, she emailed potential victims and conducted a phoney study for the athletes.
The email, prosecutors said, asked the women to send pictures of themselves in “to show more and more skin in the same way as a bathing suit” and suggested the images would not be shared or saved.
Court documents said the email contained attachments to “Katie “‘s sample nude and seminude images to show what kind of photos the victim should send.
Investigators said they identified more than 10 victims of the so-called body development study and more than 300 nude and semen-related photographs in Mr. Waithe’s email accounts.
Mr Waithe was expelled from the North-East University in February 2019 “as a result of his inappropriate behavior towards female student-athletes by a university spokesperson,” a university spokesperson, Renata Nyul, said in a statement.
“Resources were provided to the affected students for counseling and overall support for their well-being,” he said, adding that the university police worked with federal law enforcement on the case.
Mr. Waghey previously worked as a track-and-field coach at other academic institutions, including Penn State, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Tennessee, and Concordia University of Chicago, according to the charge documents.
Phone numbers associated with Mr. Waghe’s name were not immediately returned on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer.
The cyberstalking charge provides for up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $ 250,000, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
The office said the wire fraud charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years, three years of supervised release and a fine of $ 250,000.