Ex-Northeastern track coach charged with nude photo scheme

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2019 file photo, pedestrians walk near a Northeastern University sign on the school's campus in Boston. Steve Waithe, 28, of Chicago, a former track and field coach at Northeastern University was arrested, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, and charged with using bogus social media accounts to try to trick female student-athletes into sending him nude photos of themselves, prosecutors said. (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

BOSTON – A former track and field coach at Boston's Northeastern University was arrested Wednesday and charged with using bogus social media accounts to try to trick female student-athletes into sending him nude photos of themselves, prosecutors said.

Steve Waithe, 28, of Chicago, is accused of creating fake social media accounts to contact track and field athletes and offering to help get rid of compromising photos of them he claimed to have found online.

Starting in at least February 2020, Waithe would send pictures he had obtained of the victims and try to persuade them to send more explicit photos to him so he could “reverse image search,” authorities said in court documents.

Waithe also would regularly ask to use female athletes' cellphones at practice and meets so that he could film their form. One victim told authorities that at least once she saw Waithe scrolling on her phone instead of recording.

Waithe, who is charged with cyberstalking and wire fraud in Boston federal court, appeared before a judge in Chicago, and a hearing was scheduled for Friday to determine whether he should remain detained.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate McClelland called Waithe's conduct “brazen and predatory” and said authorities feared he would try to intimidate the victims if released.

Waithe's attorney, Jack Corfman, noted that Waithe has no criminal history and said he is not accused of disclosing the images publicly or retaliating against people who didn't send him more photos.

Corfman declined to comment in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday.