San Diego

Father of Tennis Pro Charged With Molesting 2 Minors in San Diego County

The suspect is the father of the famous tennis player Mark Philippoussis

The father of a well-known tennis pro, accused of molesting two 9-year-old students, pleaded not guilty to 14 related charges. 

Nikolaos Philippoussis, 68, is charged with sexually molesting two of his students, both 9 years old, repeatedly for a year, starting last summer. The Deputy District Attorney alleges Philippoussis molested the students at the tennis courts, his car, and his home.

The charges include lewd acts with a child under the age of 14 and special circumstances the offense was committed against more than one person.

"Probably a parent's worst nightmare having someone in a position of trust a teacher, a coach, a student, an instructor, then to violate that trust repeatedly over this type of conduct over this period of time, yeah it's serious," Garrett Wong, Deputy District Attorney, said.

He is being held on $9.2 million bail, an increase from his initial $2.5 million bail. 

Philippoussis sat in court handcuffed at the wrists and ankles, his expression somber. When the judge asked if he understood the charges against him, Philippoussis said "yes," his only words. 

Philippoussis was arrested at his Mira Mesa home earlier this week. Defense Attorney Ryan Tegnelia said his client understands the charges against him but maintains his innocence. 

"He maintains his innocence, obviously, and he’s looking forward to diligently defending his case and he’s anxious to see what evidence they have against him and he’s anxious to provide evidence of his own," Tegnelia said.

Philippoussis is the father of Mark Philippoussis, a now-retired award-winning tennis player. Mark attended the arraignment Thursday.

"He’s of course very concerned for his father wants to help in any way that he can," said Tegnelia. "He understands the serious nature of these charges and hes looking forward to helping his father in any way he can."

When Mark first learned of the charges, Tegnelia said, he was shocked. 

"As far as we can all tell, this took the entire family by surprise," he said. 

Tegnelia said his client does not plan to post bail. If he should post bail, he will have to surrender is passport and be subject to a restraining order that prohibits him from having contact with children. 

An investigation is ongoing at this time. Sheriff's investigators say there are no indications that other children were molested but it's a possibility they're considering.

Anyone with information can call the San Diego County Sheriff's Department at (858)974-2310.

Philippoussis is next scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 31.

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