You don’t get to choose which parts of your past are remembered.
Longtime NBA scout Pete Philo was invited back to his home state last month to be inducted into the Upstate New York Basketball Hall of Fame. At a $75-a-head dinner in the ballroom of a hotel in Troy, Philo was hailed as a pioneer in gathering intelligence on import-ready hoops talent. He had built a sterling professional reputation through running a camp in Italy for European NBA prospects long before foreign players were en vogue, and through successful stints in the front offices of the Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Indiana Pacers. That expertise had Philo in demand for behind-the-scenes breakdowns of how overseas players are chosen in the NBA Draft.
The respect Philo has earned in NBA circles also is evident in the impressive board of directors he assembled for TPG Sports, the North Carolina-based basketball-centric consulting and events company he founded: Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, Mavericks director of player personnel Tony Ronzone, and longtime NCAA head coach turned ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla. At TPG’s “Pro Scout School,” scheduled for next month in Las Vegas during the NBA Summer League, Mavericks president Donnie Nelson (a longtime Philo champion), Indiana Pacers president Kevin Pritchard, and former Timberwolves general manager Jim Stack will give presentations.
Philo has also expanded his brand in recent years by founding The Sports Tank, a clone of ABC’s Shark Tank that hosts gatherings during NBA All-Star Game weekends to match up angel investors with entrepreneurs trying to get their sports-related products to market. Recent renditions of Sports Tank featured appearances by NBA vets Baron Davis and Myles Turner, and had NASCAR and UnderArmour as sponsors.
Upstate, local basketball insiders brag about knowing Philo before he began globetrotting and hobnobbing with hoops luminaries, starting when he starred for Saratoga Springs High School and later playing for Fraschilla at Manhattan. “It’s a body of work, somebody’s journey through the game, starts in their playing days and continues on in a career,” said Rene LeRoux, the executive director of the Upstate New York Basketball Hall of Fame, explaining Philo’s invitation to join. “He’s had a really exceptional career in scouting with NBA teams.”
LeRoux says that for Philo’s recent induction dinner in Troy, which also honored Jim Boeheim and Jimmer Fredette, the group produced a video showing “10 or 15 NBA GMs that all said great things” about Philo.
But not everyone holds such fond memories of Philo’s past. Many locals remember an incident that went unmentioned during his hall-of-fame induction ceremony, one that led to more headlines than his basketball career ever did. “A former teacher was sentenced Wednesday to a year in Saratoga County Jail for raping and impregnating a 15-year-old girl who formerly was one of his students,” an Albany Times Union article from October 12, 2000 began.
Philo was the rapist. His victim was a freshman at the Charlton School for Girls, an orphanage-turned-boarding-school in Burnt Hills where the then-26-year-old Philo worked. The school was described by the Times Union as a facility serving students “who are recovering from emotional or physical abuse or who have social, criminal or academic problems.” The young girl had been placed at the Charlton School by Saratoga County courts the previous year after she had been, in the words of the court, “adjudicated a person in need of supervision,” and she was legally in foster care there when Philo was hired as a counselor at the school.
The victim said Philo began grooming her after they met in a cottage at the boarding school. Philo got himself assigned to be her “mentor” during weekends, when he would pick her up, take her back to his apartment, and rape her. She says she knew of three other Charlton classmates who Philo had a sexual relationship with during his brief stint at the school—he worked evenings and scouted for victims while making rounds in the residential cottages when he was supposed to be making bed checks, she said.
Initially, Philo denied any wrongdoing—even after learning, a month after he’d left the school in disgrace, that the girl was pregnant. The county district attorney told the Glens Falls Post-Star in October 2000 that “Philo denied the allegations against him until a blood test was done using samples from the victim, Philo and the unborn fetus.” That test showed he was the baby’s father.
Philo pleaded guilty to four counts of third-degree rape, a felony defined in New York as a “perpetrator 21 years or more” having sexual intercourse with a “victim less than 17 years old.” (The crime is commonly referred to as “statutory rape.”) Philo also pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child and four misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse. The four felony counts carried a combined maximum penalty of 16 years in prison; he could have gotten up to another eight years behind bars for the eight misdemeanors.
Yet Philo was sentenced to a year in county jail, a sentence whose leniency flabbergasted Jennifer A. Jensen, Saratoga County’s sex-crimes prosecutor at the time. “The defendant held a position of trust and violated that trust when he engaged in sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old student, not once but on four separate occasions,” Jensen declared after sentencing, according to a report in the Times Union. “This case is even worse because the defendant impregnated a 15-year-old and now we have a child raising a child.”
He was released on good behavior after only eight months in jail. Philo immediately left the capital region, and he has lived outside the state ever since. Time and distance—combined with the sealing of court records in every criminal and civil case related to the crimes, a long string of bios and résumés with fraudulent timelines, and shoddy background checks or simple indifference by several NBA teams—have caused selective memory loss in much of the basketball world. Raping a 15-year-old girl didn’t stop him from having a successful NBA career, or from being inducted into the regional hall of fame. LeRoux said that he was unaware of Philo’s criminal past, and that Philo’s local legal troubles “didn’t come up” during the election process.
The 15-year-old girl he raped and impregnated has found it harder to forget. She’s 35 now, and lives a short drive from where Philo’s celebratory dinner was held. “He used to babysit me,” she tells me. “He was a family friend and acted like he was on my side, ’til one day...”
Her older brother, who used to hang out with Philo when they were high school classmates and his sister was a small child, hasn’t forgotten the destructive impact Philo’s crimes had on his whole family.
“Who would put that guy in a hall of fame?” he wonders now.
Philo led Saratoga Springs in scoring in the 1989-1990 season as a junior, and was the top scorer in the entire region when he was “suspended from the team for academic reasons” late in his senior season, according to a Times Union article. He repeated his senior year at St. Thomas More, a Connecticut prep school and traditional hoops powerhouse that finished that season 25-1, winning the New England prep championship and regarded among the top squads in the country. Philo’s performance earned him an offer to play for Manhattan College under Fran Fraschilla.
He left Fraschilla after one season riding Manhattan’s bench, then jumped from Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, to St. Catherine, a Kentucky junior college, to Ulster County Community College back in New York. Philo showed up at the University of South Alabama (USA) and joined coach Bill Musselman’s squad mid-season in December 1995, and somehow was deemed eligible to play. A writeup of Philo’s surprise arrival at South Alabama in the Mobile Press Register said Philo had “enrolled in his fifth school in the past two years.”
Philo left South Alabama after spending another year on the bench. His overall NCAA D1 stat line from Manhattan and USA was middling (34 games, 2.1 points per game., o.4 rebounds, 0.7 assists), but he still pursued a pro playing career. Philo told Deadspin he played in Denmark, Lebanon, Poland, Croatia, and Iceland. Records of his playing career with foreign teams prior to his jailing are scarce, though an April 1997 clip from the Politiken, a Danish newspaper, had Philo putting in 15 points to lead Aabyhøj Basketball to a win in that country’s top professional confederation, the Danmarks Basketball-Forbund.
By 1998, Philo was back in upstate New York looking at options for a basketball career that didn’t involve playing. He hosted summer camps in the Albany area, and helped run the league at Gavin Park, a known hoops haven in Wilton, N.Y. (Jimmer Fredette is among the alums.) “We had a great program,” recalls Melody Thornton, Wilton’s recreation director and Philo’s boss at the time. “I have nothing but positive things to say about Pete.”
In January 1999, according to newspaper accounts and court documents, Philo took a job as a counselor at the Charlton School for Girls.
He didn’t last one semester at the school. The Times Union reported in June 1999 that he had resigned from Charlton that April, after word spread around campus that he had inappropriately spoken to and touched several students and was having a sexual relationship with at least one of them. The newspaper said Philo denied any wrongdoing to administrators as he left the school, telling them that he was leaving Charlton because “the job might make him vulnerable to accusations involving female students” regardless of the truth.
“What he said was: ‘I have a career as a basketball coach, and want to be a coach in college someday,’” Donald A. Marshall, Charlton’s executive director, told the paper. “He said his agent told him the [school environment] wasn’t good.”
After his resignation, Philo continued running basketball camps in the area until he was arrested. Once the paternity test disproved his claim that he had never had sex with the girl, Philo insisted it had been consensual. Legally, though, there is no such thing as consensual intercourse between a 26-year-old high school counselor and a 15-year-old freshman.
After a guilty plea, the prosecutor, Jensen, asked county court judge Jerry J. Scarano to put Philo in state prison for at least four years. But Scarano went easy on the former local hero, handing down a sentence that looked reasonable on paper—eight one-year terms and four 60-day terms—but ordering that the punishments be served concurrently, meaning Philo got off with just one year, and could shave another four months of that meager sentence with good behavior. Scarano also went against the prosecutor’s recommended punishment by ordering that Philo be incarcerated in the Saratoga County jail instead of state prison.
Scarano gave no public explanation for his leniency. The Schenectady Daily Gazette reported that Philo’s attorney, Terence Kindlon, said he and Scarano “negotiated and settled upon the sentence at the time of Philo’s plea,” and that Kindlon told the court that Philo shouldn’t be behind bars for too long because “he has a genuine interest in caring for his son.”
Jensen said Philo had received the lightest sentence she had ever seen for a rape convict in the county, and that he was the first rapist sentenced to the local jail instead of a state prison. “To suggest we are disappointed in the sentencing is a gross understatement,” Jensen told reporters at the courthouse. The Daily Gazette article said Jensen was also angered by Philo’s lack of remorse. “He has the audacity to suggest that she aggressively came on to him,” she said.
Jensen is now a judge in Saratoga County. Her office told Deadspin that because of her position on the bench, she cannot comment on cases.
As soon as he was out of jail, Philo moved to Texas, so he was long gone when the victim’s parents sued the school and Philo for civil damages. Philo did not respond to subpoenas, and in legal terms “defaulted” on the case. The plaintiffs did not pursue him out of state for damages, focusing instead on getting the school to admit its guilt.
The suit alleged that several students told Charlton administrators that Philo was having sex with boarders and were ignored. According to a report in the Saratogian in October 2000, the suit said Philo had been accused by multiple students of “making sexual advances, intimacy and intercourse” with students before the rapes for which he was arrested took place. In a report in the Schenectady Daily Gazette, Marshall said, “[Philo] was a touchy-feely kind of guy. He gave the girls hugs, and he was a little bit of a Casanova” on the job. But Marshall insisted the school was unaware Philo had a sexual relationship with any Charlton School student until the 15-year-old got pregnant. But the judge in the civil case determined that the school had done enough under the law. “Charlton fully investigated the matter and came to the reasonable conclusion based on the evidence then before it that it was unfounded,” the court found.
The judge also accepted the argument that Charlton administrators couldn’t have reasonably known they were hiring a pedophile when they put Philo on staff at the high school for troubled girls. The victim’s family appealed, but the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York refused to revisit the case. “[Philo] was not on the state child abuse register,” read the appeals court’s ruling affirming the dismissal, “and there was nothing in his background that would have put the school on notice that he had a propensity toward statutory rape.”
The victim and her family remain upset by how the criminal and civil cases were handled by the courts. “I don’t think justice was served,” her father told Deadspin. “I don’t think my daughter thinks justice was served. He got off real light, and I have no reason for that. I was very upset. You do what you can do with the law, you know? But he got off with a year?”
The failure of the civil case was equally discouraging, the father says. He says Charlton School lawyers argued that among the reasons the school couldn’t be held liable for Philo’s crimes was that his daughter and Philo knew each other before he got a job there. An older brother of the victim had known Philo years earlier when they were both in high school, and their father says Philo occasionally came to their house. Philo’s future victim would have been about kindergarten-age when he met her while hanging out with her brother. “She didn’t know him,” says the father. “She was too young to know who he was. He knew her.”
The brother says Philo’s crimes did irreparable damage to the whole family. “The relationship between my father and sister will never be the same,” the older brother said. “All because of him.” The victim’s mother died at age 52 in 2008, less than two years after the family’s last legal appeal in the civil case was exhausted. “My mother’s demise I put on him,” says the brother. “He caused so much stress.”
Philo is white. The 15-year-old he raped was black. Saratoga County was 96 percent white and 1.3 percent black in 2000. Asked why she thinks the criminal court showed Phil so much leniency and the civil system shut down her family’s case against those they felt were responsible for the harm, the victim says she believes racism was a major factor. (The family also believes Philo’s mother’s role as a judge in nearby Northampton Town, N.Y., a job she’s now had for 29 years, factored into the proceedings.) “Honestly, I hate to pull this card,” she told Deadspin. “but I think what happened was this was a black family in Saratoga.”
Her older brother agrees. “This is white privilege. It’s that plain,” says the older brother of the victim. “He was that way when I met him [as classmates at Saratoga Springs High School]. He got everything he wanted. He had his own apartment and car in high school, when nobody else did. He just had privileges.”
At least one other Charlton parent filed a lawsuit on behalf of his daughter while Philo was in jail alleging sexual misconduct from Philo and negligence from the school and Albany County’s Department of Social Services. That girl’s father told Deadspin that he was a single parent who went to county authorities asking for help with his daughter because of behavioral issues. The county then enrolled her in the boarding school against his wishes, the father said, and then did nothing to protect the girl, who turned 16 the month Philo began working at the school. The father declined to go into detail about what happened between Philo and his daughter, only saying that his lawsuit emanated from an incident similar to “what got him in trouble.”
“It was the worst thing I could have done. She fell prey to that guy,” said the girl’s father, who still lives in the area. “They sent her up there, and the incident happened and I couldn’t do [anything] about it. I was just totally disgusted. Nothing I could do.”
That second civil case—which named Philo, the Charlton School, and the commissioner of Albany County’s Department of Social Services as defendants—was dismissed before trial, too.
No criminal charges were ever filed against Philo based on the allegations from the second father or his daughter. But that family still feels burned too. “They just shoveled it beneath the rug,” the girl’s father said. “Basically, I had no rights, and the county just shut it up. That’s the system for you.”
(Both civil cases against Philo and Charlton were dismissed before trial, so no allegations that Philo had sex with multiple students were ever proven in court. After Philo pleaded guilty to raping the 15-year-old, his attorney denied any additional inappropriate conduct with students.)
The breaks kept coming for Philo. Almost all records for the criminal proceedings and both civil cases were sealed because juveniles were involved; the only available public record is an appeals court ruling from 2006 affirming a lower court’s decision to dismiss the civil case, which covers only a small portion of the allegations against Philo in the original civil complaint. By sealing the records—a move designed to protect young victims—the courts threw up roadblocks to anyone looking for information on Philo’s crimes.
That lack of information has emboldened Philo to concoct a fictional personal history. In interviews and official biographies since becoming an NBA scout, Philo not only routinely fails to mention the break in his career caused by the rape conviction and incarceration, he actively covers it up.
Philo’s LinkedIn page says he was a “Professional Basketball Player [in] Europe-6 years,” and lists his overseas playing dates as “1996–2002.” In Philo’s bio on the TPG Sports website, he wrote that he played “professionally from 1996–2001 in 7 different countries.”
But Philo was otherwise occupied for a sizable portion of that time. According to court records and newspaper reports he started at Charlton in January 1999 and resigned in April 1999. He was sentenced to jail in October 2000 and according to his page on the North Carolina sex offender registry, was released on May 28, 2001. He originally registered on the Texas sex offender registry in June 2001.
The only published account of Philo playing abroad between January 1999 and July 2001 comes from a February 2002 report in the Icelandic publication VF. At the time Philo, several months out of jail, was trying to stick with Njarðvíkinga, a mainstay of Iceland’s pro league. The writeup has an overview of Philo’s pro career that appears to have been provided by Philo himself. There’s an entry saying Philo played in the “European Summer League” in Italy in June 1999 and averaged 16 points a game, good enough to be “selected to the All-Star Game.” The Albany Times Union reported Philo was arrested in New York on June 11, 1999 and had his passport confiscated, so any run in such a league would have been very brief.
Yet Philo’s transition from a jail cell to an NBA front office appears to have happened with stunning quickness. According to a June 25, 2001 story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Philo was among a group of 13 players who won an invitation to an open tryout with the Mavericks by performing well in a Hoop-It-Up tournament in Dallas. In a 2017 interview, Philo said Donnie Nelson hired him after the two men became friends when Philo began playing pickup hoops with Mavs players. Philo told Deadspin that the combination of his experience playing overseas and his personal relationship with Nelson landed him his first NBA scouting job. “[Nelson] was looking for another talent evaluator in Europe that not just knew players but had relationships,” Philo said.
Evidently, the organization either didn’t dig very deep into Philo’s background—he’d enrolled in the Texas sex offender registry the very same week he got the invitation to try out for the Mavericks—or weren’t bothered enough by what they found not to hire him. Philo has said he was a full-time international scout for the team by 2003.
Nelson, through team spokesperson Sarah Melton, declined to answer any questions about Philo’s hiring, saying via email that the team couldn’t even confirm the date Philo was hired. Melton said that information about Philo wasn’t available because “our old HR guy has been let go.” (That would be former HR director Buddy Pittman, who was fired in Febuary 2018 for failing to appropriately address domestic abuse and sexual abuse allegations against employees. Pittman did not respond to an interview request.)
The Mavericks hired Philo at a time when few NBA guys were fluent in overseas hoops. In a 2017 interview, Philo said that shortly after he started in Dallas, Reebok approached him “looking for somebody grassroots-wise” to give them a footprint overseas. That led to Philo running an invite-only camp for European players in Treviso, Italy. The event Philo ran, dubbed EuroCamp, was attended by scouts from all NBA teams, even as Philo was being paid by the Mavericks.
In a 2015 piece on overseas scouting, the New York Times wrote that the event Philo started had almost immediately become “the equivalent of the N.B.A. combine” for foreign players, and was quickly important enough for ESPN to send a crew to cover it each year. (Fran Fraschilla, a college hoops analyst for the network and Philo’s former coach, led the coverage.) Philo has said that in the nine years he ran the Reebok camp, it produced 82 players ultimately drafted by NBA teams.
In a 2014 article for NBA.com about the increasing influence of foreign players in the NBA, David Aldridge wrote that “the Pacers and Jazz [...] had two of the best international departments in the league with Pete Philo in Indiana and Rich Sheubrooks in Utah.”
With Nelson’s imprimatur and the EuroCamp prestige established, Philo left Dallas to join the Timberwolves in 2005. Philo was credited with informing Minnesota’s selections of Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved, among many foreign players the team drafted during his tenure. (He was quoted by Deadspin in a 2017 story on Yi Jianlian, whom he had scouted for Minnesota.)
Philo’s reputation as a foreign scout was impressive enough by 2011 for his career to survive a brutal draft-night blunder. After successfully urging the Timberwolves to trade up for Portland’s second-round pick, he convinced his bosses to pass on future all-star prospect Isaiah Thomas and instead use the pick on Tanguy Ngomboa, a Congolese native who Philo “discovered” playing for the Qatar national team. Philo then had to confess to his bosses that Ngomboa wasn’t really 21—the scout had fallen for the player’s bogus paperwork, which took six years off his actual age. (At 27, he was ineligible to be drafted.) After learning he’d been caught, Ngomboa never even came to the U.S. “You look back and you can say, ‘Of course we should have taken Isaiah Thomas,’” Philo told Sam Vecenie of Vice.
Philo was fired by the Timberwolves in 2013 when Flip Saunders came in as president of basketball operations and purged the entire scouting operation. But Philo found work with the Pacers before the year was out.
The older brother of Philo’s 15-year-old victim told Deadspin that he alerted the Pacers to their scout’s crimes when Philo was with the team. He said he provided evidence of Philo’s rape conviction, but the organization didn’t seem to take the information seriously. “I reached out to the Indiana Pacers on their website and said, ‘You’ve got a pedophile on your staff that you should look into,’” says the brother. “They emailed me back and said, ‘This is a very serious situation, and we’ll look into these allegations.’ I said, ‘These aren’t allegations. These are facts.’ And I never heard a thing from them again.”
Philo had resigned from the Pacers by May 2016; the team never announced his departure or the reasons behind it. David Benner, director of media relations for the Pacers, did not respond to several requests for comment on Philo’s time with the team or why he left. Philo hasn’t taken another job in the NBA since he left Indianapolis. He has instead been fully self-employed by TPG Sports Group, which he founded.
Philo appeared on the podcast of Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman earlier this month to provide an insider’s view of “how the pre-draft process really works.” When Wasserman asked what gets a prospect downgraded on NBA draft boards during interviews, Philo said lying is the biggest risk.
“If he lies to you, and you know he’s lying to your face,” Philo said as part of a monologue on dealing with dishonest people, “what happens is we ask strategic questions. A lot of the times we already know the answer because we’ve done so much background on you. So we ask that question and if you just lied straight to our face, that’s a big issue. And then if we say to you, ‘Well we already know, why did you just lie?’ [And the response is:] ‘Well I’m not lying.’ And so you go back-and-forth. Well, do you want to put that player in your locker room?”
During a 43-minute phone conversation with Deadspin, Philo spoke about his career and his criminal conviction. If he were a prospect, he’d have dropped off the draft board: Philo’s version of the acts that put him in jail and on sex-offender registries bears little resemblance to the record.
Philo said he first met the girl in a bar in Saratoga when he was 26, and that he previously knew nothing about her. “I had no clue of her age,” he said, and had no idea that she was a student at Charlton, where he was working at the time. He says he didn’t learn that the girl in the bar was a student and under 18 until administrators came to him to ask whether he was having a sexual relationship with a boarder.
Court records from an appeal in the civil case, however, describe Philo as a “family friend” of the victim, and Philo’s familiarity with the victim was used by attorneys for Charlton while requesting that the court dismiss the negligence lawsuit filed against the school for hiring Philo. The victim’s older brother says Philo had known his sister since she was a small child, when he and Philo were high-school classmates and occasionally hung out. “He used his relationship with me to lure my sister in,” says the brother.
Philo also told Deadspin he only had sex with the girl “one time.” But that contradicts what prosecutor Jennifer A. Jensen said in October 2000 while railing against Philo’s short jail sentence, saying that the defendant had “engaged in sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old student, not once but on four separate occasions.” And it contradicts the overview of the case from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York: “It was proven that [Philo] had sex with her several times in his apartment when she was home on weekends.”
Philo’s current story even contradicts Philo himself: He pleaded guilty to four counts of rape, meaning four separate instances, in September 2000. Yet Philo now insists that anything that references repeated encounters with the girl is “not true.” “One time,” he repeated.
Philo said he confessed to more crimes than he actually committed in hopes of getting “a lesser sentence” from a guilty plea than if he fought the accusations of four rapes in a trial. He made it clear throughout the conversation that he feels he committed no real crime, and constantly referenced the acts that got him jailed as “consensual.” “This was a consensual situation,” he said.
He has also come up with a new version of his victim’s age. “She was one week away from 17,” he said. “The consent age in 30 states, this wouldn’t be a charge,” he continued. “Even in the state I live in [North Carolina], this wouldn’t be an issue.”
Again on this point, Philo’s rewriting history. Newspaper accounts of his arrest and his guilty plea indicate the victim was 15 years old, as did the subsequent civil suit. Public records indicate the victim turned 15 three months before the first of the rapes. The father of the victim says the girl Philo raped was 15. Philo’s page on the Texas sex offender registry, where he registered through the Lewisville sheriff’s office in June 2001, says his victim was 15.
“I was 15,” the victim herself says.
Philo’s profile on the sex offender registry maintained by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), however, lists his victim’s age as 16. According to a staffer in the agency’s sex offender registry office, the information on Philo’s page was entered in the database in 2006, when Philo first registered in North Carolina. A disclaimer on the North Carolina sex offender registry website says: “The information contained in the Registry and individual record has been provided by the registrant and/or entities other than the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). The SBI and the sheriff’s office cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.” The SBI staffer said there is no way to trace the source of the data on Philo’s page, but that all information is supposed to be thoroughly fact-checked before it appears in the registry.
The difference between a 15-year-old victim and a 16-year-old victim is legally irrelevant as long Philo remains on the offender’s registry, according to a sheriff detailed to registered sex offenders in Iredell County, N.C., where Philo formerly lived. But, the sheriff said, that erroneous age that now shows up on Philo’s page could become significant if he ever petitions the North Carolina courts to remove him from the registry. That’s because the age of consent in his current home state, as Philo pointed out multiple times in his call with Deadspin, is 16.
There is no U.S. state in which the age of consent is 15.
Philo often speaks like he’s the real victim of his rape case. Asked if his entry to the NBA straight out of jail shows that he got lots of breaks along the way, he disagreed. “I haven’t gotten any breaks,” he said. “I’ve struggled.”
Living with his past, he said, is “the hardest thing in the world.” But if he has any remorse over what he’d done to a teenage girl in his old hometown, he kept it to himself during the interview. Instead, he repeatedly made it clear that the real hardship comes from his having to register as a sex offender wherever he lives. “Neighbors find out and look at me like I’ve got five heads,” Philo said. “I just [recently] had to register.”
He feels he’s suffered enough. “Once I did eight months in jail, per the law, I paid my dues,” he said.
Asked about the misleading résumés and bios he’s used over the years, the ones meant to lead readers to believe he was traveling the world playing pro ball throughout the time he was working at Charlton and later in jail for the rape of a high school freshman, Philo admitted that he didn’t play in European leagues in 1999 or 2000. But he denies that he fabricated the dates to cover up his crimes and incarceration. He fudged dates and kept repeating them simply because “you don’t put that stuff in a resume,” he said.
Philo said the Charlton chapter of his life still takes a heavy toll on him and his family, including his “22-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son.” That leaves out the son born in 2000 as a result of the rape. Why doesn’t he count him? “I have not been able to have a relationship with my son per court order,” he responded.
“What crosses my mind, when you have a daughter, is you want to protect that daughter from crazy people in this world,” Philo said about how he thinks about his past. Asked if he thinks the father of the girl he was convicted of raping wanted to protect his daughter too, Philo says he “probably” did. Philo insists, though, that he is not one of the people he’s speaking about, a guy from whom other fathers need to protect their daughters. “This isn’t a case where I am a pedophile,” he said.
His victim has a different perspective. “He’s a routine pedophile,” she says. “He lies,” she said. “He has been lying for years about this and now he believes everything he says. There were three girls before me. You got caught because you slipped up and got me pregnant.”
Her child was born in January 2000. She started classes at a new high school two months later, and worked nights at Price Chopper so she could pay rent to her parents. Her family babysat her son when she was in class or on the job and got her through high school.
Not long after the birth of her child, the woman said, she was riding around Ballston Spa, the county seat of Saratoga County, with her older brother when they spotted Philo, who had not yet pleaded guilty. Her brother began to chase Philo’s car, she recalled, and eventually Philo drove into the parking lot of the village police station, apparently hoping to find refuge. “He jumped out of his car and my brother caught him in front of the police station and whupped his ass,” she said. “The police knew my family, and knew what he did to me. The cops watched and then asked him if he wanted to press charges after my brother beat him. He just said no.” (The photo of Philo that ran on the front page of the Post-Star’s local news section accompanying a story about his guilty pleas showed his face bandaged and bruised, though it’s unclear if his condition was related to the beating.)
Philo has never met his son. They were in the same room together once, in a courtroom during one of the first child-support hearings when the boy was an infant. “My son was making noises in the back, but not one time did [Philo] ever even look at him,” she said. “[Philo’s] family’s here. He’s theirs too. But nobody’s ever made any attempt to contact anybody about him. My son wouldn’t know him if he passed him on the street.”
The woman says Philo never showed any concern about her son’s financial security, either. He paid $50 a month in child support for her baby for the first six years after he was born, and he has never paid more than $373 a month, the current rate, she said.
In a 2014 Grantland profile of Pro Scout School, Mark Titus wrote that attendees were told “top-level scouts do bring home close to half a million a year” in salary. Philo was director of international scouting for the Pacers when Titus interviewed him, and had worked in front offices for nearly a decade. He was receiving additional income from TPG’s other endeavors, including Pro Scout School and Sports Tank. (Titus inserted an eerie aside about how he felt after talking to Philo into the article: “I couldn’t avoid the feeling that some serious shit had gone down in Philo’s life.” Titus hypothesized the damage he sensed was related to so many years of living a scout’s globetrotting life.)
“You work for the NBA!” the woman, now 35, said, while mulling the pittance Philo pays. “I was going to take him to court last year for more money, and I said, ‘What’s the point?’ I’ve done this all by myself. We don’t need him.”
She long ago gave up depending on getting even a few hundred a month from Philo. “I still don’t have this month’s check. What day is it?” she said. Told it’s June 18, she responded, “It’s due on the first. I cannot remember any time when I ever got it on the first or anywhere close.”
Last year, when her son turned 18, she told him about being raped as a teenager, and about his father. “I told him, ‘I want to let you know what happened,’” she said. “My son knows everything. I told him, ‘If you want to go meet him [or] punch him in his face, okay.’ My son knows who he is. He knows now we don’t need him.”
The woman now works in the restaurant industry. Her son is a decorated high school sports star; his name has appeared in regional papers for his sporting heroics far more often than his father’s did. He graduated from high school this month, and his mother says they just found out that his athletic career will continue in college next season.
The woman says she rarely talks about what happened at Charlton in 1999 except with family members and the few times she’s stood in front of support groups for rape victims to offer encouragement. This is the first time she’s talked to a reporter, she said. She didn’t want people to feel sorry for her, and she doesn’t feel sorry for herself. “I don’t dwell on this and I’m not sad about this,” she says. “My son was a blessing, the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and I can have no regrets. I’m as strong as I am because of this.”
“I think I did a pretty good job as a young-ass mom,” she added. “Kudos to me.”
Hours after speaking to Deadspin, Philo’s bio disappeared from the staff page on the TPG Sports Group’s website. The document, complete with a phony work history designed to camouflage a conviction on four counts of rape, can still be found via web archives and search engine caches.
Four days later, on June 19, Philo announced via Twitter that he was immediately resigning from the company and giving up his TPG Sports ownership stake “out of a sincere desire to protect my co-workers’ livelihoods, as well as the interests of our clients and partners and all that we have built together.”
“Over the past 20 years, I have tried to be a positive influence on the lives of others,” Philo opened his farewell statement.
In fact, 20 years ago, Philo had just resigned from a school for troubled girls, denying he’d raped and impregnated a 15-year-old in foster care. Even when saying goodbye, Philo is still trying to control which parts of his past are remembered.