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Former NCAA track coach pleads guilty after tricking women into sending him naked pictures


A former college track and field coach admitted on Tuesday to tricking women into sending him naked photos of themselves.

Steve Waithe pleaded guilty in a Boston federal court to 12 counts of wire fraud, one count of cyberstalking, one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and one count of computer fraud, aiding and abetting.

While coaching at Northeastern, Waithe began an operation in which he would dupe women to send him proactive photos of themselves by saying he found such photos of them on the internet – he would claim he needed more photos in order to get them removed from the internet. 

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Northeastern university sign

The Northeastern University logo is displayed on a sign at the Boston campus on Wednesday, August 2, 2006. (Ruby Arguilla-Tull/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

He also fabricated at least two female personas to get more pictures, saying he needed them to “track the progress” of athletes, officials said.

The former coach also “cyberstalked one female student-athlete and orchestrated a scheme to gain unauthorized access to a victim’s Snapchat account,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said.

Hurdles

View of hurdles at Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championship on June 8, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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Waithe was in charge of double-digit fake social media accounts, where he received “hundreds” of photos from “dozens of victims” who thought their photos were for legitimate research studies.

“Mr. Waithe’s conduct is despicable. For almost a year, he manipulated, exploited and in one case stalked young women across the county hiding behind a web of anonymized social media accounts and fabricated personas he engineered,” acting U.S. attorney Joshua S. Levy said. “Mr. Waithe maliciously invaded the lives of dozens of innocent victims and inflicted real trauma. He now knows no one can hide from justice – even anonymously behind a keyboard. Protecting our communities is one of the highest priorities for this office and we will use every tool at our disposal to ensure predators like Mr. Waithe face the full consequences of their actions.”

lane marker

A general view of a lane marker during the Division II Mens and Womens Indoor Track & Field Championships held at the Virginia Beach Sports Center on March 10, 2023 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Scott Taetsch/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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“Today, this former coach finally admitted to using his position of trust to betray his students when he extorted them for his own sexual gratification. He even went as far as cyberstalking one of them. Make no mistake, predators come in many different forms, and Steve Waithe is no exception,” FBI special agent Jodi Cohen said. “Cyberstalking is a serious crime that can inflict lasting harm, and thankfully, the victims in this case did not let fear silence them. Many don’t report these types of crimes because they don’t think anything will be done to the perpetrator. We hope this case demonstrates otherwise.”

Each wire fraud charge is punishable by up to 20 years in jail – cyberstalking can be a five-year sentence, as do the charges of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and computer fraud, aiding and abetting.

He also coached Penn State, Illinois Institute of Technology, Tennessee, and Concordia University Chicago.

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