Former Northeastern track coach faces federal charges in nude photo scheme
© Greg Nash

FBI agents arrested a former Northeastern University track coach on Wednesday, saying he operated a scheme to trick female student-athletes to send him nude photos.

The Justice Department announced that Steve Waithe, 28, faces charges of cyberstalking and wire fraud over allegations that he used fake personas and contacted athletes by email asking for their participation in "athlete research" or a "body development" study.

According to prosecutors, Waithe ran a "phony study for athletes and requested information relating to height, weight and diet habits. The emails also included a request for the victims to send photos of themselves in a 'uniform or bathing suit to show as much skin as possible' and suggested that the photos would not be shared or saved."

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Authorities said they have identified more than 10 victims of "body development study" and found over 300 related nude and semi-nude images of victims in Waithe’s email.

Court documents said Waithe previously coached at schools including Penn State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Tennessee and Concordia University Chicago.

Waithe faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, the more severe of the two charges. He was arrested Wednesday in Chicago, and made an initial court appearance in Illinois. He is expected to be moved to Boston to face charges there.

A spokesperson for Northeastern University told NBC 10 that Waithe was fired in 2019 after roughly four months on the job after an investigation by the university uncovered “inappropriate conduct toward female student athletes.”

“Impacted students were provided with counseling and other resources. The university also contacted federal law enforcement officials and worked in full cooperation for the duration of the federal investigation," said the spokesperson.

The Hill has reached out to Northeastern for comment. Neither Waithe nor his attorney could be reached.