The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



Got an idea? A concern? A problem? Let The Huntington News know:

Former Northeastern coach sentenced to five years in prison for sextortion, cyberstalking

Jessica Xing
The Cabot Center, where the Northeastern track and field team trains, stands on Huntington Avenue. A former Northeastern track and field coach was sentenced March 6 on charges related to a nude photo scheme.

Steve Waithe, former Northeastern track and field coach, was sentenced in federal court to five years in prison March 6 on charges of sextortion, cyberstalking, and cyber fraud. Federal prosecutors said Waithe fraudulently utilized social media to target at least 128 women. 

Waithe was indicted in April 2021 after using almost two dozen fake social media and email accounts to obtain thousands of explicit photos from women across the country, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a press release Wednesday. Waithe also stalked a female student-athlete and obtained unauthorized access to several victims’ Snapchat accounts. 

Waithe pleaded guilty to 12 counts of wire fraud and computer fraud in November 2023. 

“This defendant’s conduct is deplorable. He exploited his trusted role as a coach to college athletes to engage in a sextortion campaign that has left a trail of emotional devastation in its wake,” said U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy in a statement. 

During the sentencing, six victims discussed their experiences with Waithe and implored District Court Judge Patti B. Saris to give the former track coach the harshest possible sentence, NBC Boston reported.

Waithe reportedly apologized and requested a fair sentence. 

“I know my words will not do justice to reversing the damage I caused,” he said, according to NBC Boston. “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.”

Waithe’s prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release, during which he cannot serve as a coach, teacher, mentor, or similar role involving women or girls. 

Waithe’s attorney pushed the court for a sentencing of 27 to 33 months with only three years probation after release. According to NBC Boston, his attorney opposed the final sentence. 

Waithe’s employment at Northeastern was terminated after four months due to reports of sexual harassment that led to a university-conducted Title IX investigation, according to court documents. According to the press release, he was previously a track and field coach at the University of Tennessee, Penn State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Concordia University Chicago. 

While at Northeastern, Waithe took explicit photos of female athletes by using their phones to record their athletic performances for what he claimed was a review. While filming the athletes during practices or meets, he would then search through their devices for nude photos, which he would secretly email to himself, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

After being released on conditions following his arrest in April 2021, Waithe continued to use social media accounts to solicit new victims and ask women to send him nude photos of themselves, according to the press release. 

During the initial investigation, prosecutors discovered Waithe owned false social media accounts under the aliases “Katie Janovich” and “Kathryn Svoboda,” and, along with a co-conspirator, hacked into women’s social media accounts to access explicit photos. The hacking took place on applications including Instagram and Snapchat. 

Prosecutors also found Waithe’s browsing history to include questions like “Can anyone trace my fake Instagram account back to me?” and “How to Hack Someone’s Snapchat the Easy Way.” 

Waithe also sent emails to numerous women under the pretense of “body development” studies, requesting nude photos, and obtained hundreds of nude and semi-nude images.

“The depth of deceit demonstrated by Steve Waithe in this case is deeply disturbing, Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division said in the press release. “This predator readily betrayed the trust of over 50 women, tricking them into sending him explicit photos which he then used to exploit and extort them. His reprehensible actions inflicted significant anguish on these victims who were living in fear of being so personally exposed.” 

About the Contributors
Annie Cayer, Deputy Campus Editor
Jessica Xing
Jessica Xing, Photo Editor
Jessica Xing is a third-year graphic design major with a minor in journalism. She has previously served as deputy photo editor and design editor and is excited to continue working with photographers for The News this semester.
More to Discover