The father of Australian tennis star Mark Philippoussis has been charged by U.S. police with allegedly sexually abusing two children, one aged under 10, to whom he was giving tennis lessons.
San Diego County Sheriff's Department said Nikolaos 'Nick' Philippoussis had been charged with "multiple counts of lewd and lascivious acts with two minor victims".
On Wednesday morning, a police spokesman told HuffPost Australia that Philippoussis was in county custody. It is alleged that the 68-year-old, who works as a personal tennis coach in Northern San Diego County, California, molested two young pupils who took lessons from him.
Charges include engaging in both sexual intercourse and oral copulation with a child who is 10 years of age or younger under section 288.7(B) of the California Penal Code -- offences which are each punishable by imprisonment for a term of 15 years to life.
In addition to these, the 68-year-old was also charged with three counts of "willfully and lewdly" committing "any lewd or lascivious act" on a child under the age of 14 years, "with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or child" under section 288(A).
Detectives from the police child abuse unit arrested Philippoussis at his home on Tuesday afternoon (local time) and are currently appealing for any other victims who may have been molested to come forward.
According to the Sheriff's Department, Philippoussis is expected to face court on Wednesday at 8am (local time).
Philippoussis, a former football goalkeeper, coached son Mark to international fame on the tennis circuit.
Mark Philippoussis rose to prominence in the 1990s, ranking number eight in the world at the peak of his professional career. He represented Australia three times in the Olympic Games.
Happy Father's Day dad, you were (and still are) always by my side protecting me and guiding me through life, and now watching you do the same with your grandson Nicholas is so beautiful to watch and I remain so grateful and blessed. Also a Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers today. 🙏🏼💙 #happyfathersday #family #love #thankful #grateful #blessed #beautiful #life
Other career highlights included reaching the finals of both the U.S. Open in 1998 and Wimbledon in 2003. The 40-year-old father-of-one was also part of Australia's winning Davis Cup team in 1999 and 2003.
In June, Philippoussis posted a tribute to his father on Instagram where he thanked him for protecting and guiding him through life.
"[A]nd now watching you do the same with your grandson Nicholas is so beautiful to watch and I remain so grateful and blessed."
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