Former track coach sentenced for tricking female athletes into sending him their nudes 

Francis Akhalbey March 07, 2024
Prosecutors said Steve Waithe tricked female student-athletes into sending him nude photographs of themselves -- Photo via

Steve Waithe, the former Northeastern University track and field coach accused of tricking several female student-athletes into sending him their nude photographs, was on Wednesday sentenced to five years in prison.

Per The Associated Press, Waithe’s conviction came after he pleaded guilty to 12 counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and one count of computer fraud. He is said to have entered the plea in 2023, prosecutors said, adding that he also pleaded guilty to cyberstalking a victim.

As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, prosecutors in the wake of his April 2021 arrest said Waithe, 31, did that “through messages sent via social media, an anonymized phone number and intrusion into her Snapchat account.”

“These weren’t just victims that lost some money. These were people who lost their privacy, their sense of safety and destruction of trust,” Judge Patti Saris said. “Many of them cared for you, Mr. Waithe. and you broke their hearts. It was very much a breach of trust.”

Prosecutors claimed more than 50 of Waithe’s victims sent him photos while he attempted to obtain more from 72 other victims. “To many of the victims in this case, Steve Waithe presented himself as a relatable coach and mentor. To other victims, he was a work colleague or a random acquaintance. To still others, he was considered a childhood friend,” prosecutors stated.

“However, by the time of his arrest in April 2021, Steve Waithe was to all of these women only one thing: a predator set on exploiting his position and relationships for his own pleasure.”

Several of Waithe’s victims addressed the court during his sentencing, with some recalling how he managed to win their confidence and ultimately gained access to their phones, The Associated Press reported. They also said the convicted man claimed he was going to use the photos he requested for research. Waithe’s victims said they became anxious as a result of his actions, adding that they were also afraid their images would be circulated on the internet and likely harm their personal and professional lives.

“He was willing to violate university rules. He was willing to violate conditions of release,” a victim said. “I don’t believe even after he gets out he will stop. I’m honestly begging that you give him as much time as possible.” The victim also highlighted Waithe did not stop his inappropriate actions even after he was initially arrested. 

Waithe, on the other hand, pleaded for leniency and touched on suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

“I know my words will not do justice to reversing the damage I caused,” the 31-year-old said. “Hearing your statements today has impacted me further than any incarceration could … There is no way to put into words just how impactful my actions were on your lives and will continue to be on your lives. I understand the life I had and the life I threw away and the severity of my actions.”

Per the charging documents, Waithe worked as a track and field coach at Boston’s Northeastern University between October 2018 and February 2019. During his time at the institution, prosecutors say he regularly tricked female athletes into giving him their phones under the guise of “filming their form at practice and at meets.” While he had their phones in his possession, he was occasionally seen “scrolling through” them.

Prosecutors also said Waithe masterminded a scheme where he tricked female athletes at the university into sending him either nude or semi-nude photos of themselves. Through fake social media accounts, Waithe would allegedly get in touch with the victims and tell them he has discovered “compromising” images of them on the internet and would then play the good Samaritan by offering to “help” remove the said images online. Using that frame-up, Waithe would then ask the victims to send him either nude or semi-nude photos of themselves so he could use them for “reverse image searches,” the statement said.

Prosecutors said Waithe also emailed victims asking them to send him their photos under the guise of “athlete research” or “body development” study. Using aliases, Waithe would ask the victims to send him photos of themselves in a “uniform or bathing suit to show as much skin as possible.” He would also tell them that their photos won’t be circulated or saved, going as far as even attaching a sample image to illustrate the kind of photo he wanted them to send.

Besides Northeastern University, Waithe was also a former track and field coach at a host of other institutions including the University of Tennessee, Penn State University, Concordia University and Chicago Illinois Institute of Technology.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 7, 2024


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