Officials at multiple Chicago area colleges are working to find additional victims Wednesday after a coach accused of tricking student-athletes into sending him nude photos was arrested in the city.
Federal law enforcement officials say Steve Waithe targeted student-athletes he coached at Boston’s Northeastern University, but he also worked at numerous other schools across the United States, including the Illinois Institute of Technology and Concordia University Chicago.
Officials at Concordia and IIT say they were made aware of the allegations on Wednesday morning. Concordia officials say they are reaching out to former student-athletes to see if they have similar stories about Waithe’s alleged conduct.
Waithe was an All-American triple jumper at Penn State University. He later parlayed that experience into several coaching jobs, including at IIT for four months in 2017 and at Concordia.
While Waithe was coaching at Northeastern in 2018, federal prosecutors alleged that he would ask for female athletes’ phones to record their form, but on several occasions he allegedly stole compromising images from the devices.
Investigators have identified more than 10 victims of the “body development” scheme, according to the Associated Press.
“It’s really disgusting and it’s really scary that somebody in the hierarchy here was doing that,” Northeastern student Heather Gamache said.
Waithe was fired from Northeastern in 2019 for inappropriate conduct toward female students, but his next stop would be at Concordia University in Chicago later that year. He coached at the school until Jan. 2020.
Prosecutors allege that it was at that time Waithe perpetrated a scheme to dupe female Northeastern track and field athletes into sending him nude or semi-nude photos of themselves.
He allegedly contacted the victims on social media using various pseudonyms, told them he had found compromising photos of them online and offered to help get the photos removed from the internet. Under this pretense, he allegedly requested additional nude or semi-nude photos he could use for reverse image searches.
Waithe also allegedly cyberstalked at least one female Northeastern student-athlete through messages sent on social media, according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is continuing to search for additional victims in the case, and is encouraging any victims to visit their website for more information.