Fremont High School volunteer coach arrested for sexual assault

Suspect is currently being held in the Santa Clara County Main Jail

Lillian Wang and Sonia Verma

*For the purpose of maintaining their anonymity, we will refer to the FHS alum as Sam.

*Content warning: This article mentions rape and sexual assault.

On Monday, April 11, retired Cupertino Middle School teacher Anthony James Phillips was arrested for raping a CMS student in 2009. Phillips, now 61 years old, had recently been working as a volunteer coach at Fremont High School and as a substitute teacher in the Cupertino Union School District. 

Throughout his time as a coach at FHS, Phillips seemed “very positive,” “kind-hearted” and “mellow,” according to FHS ‘21 alum Sam. The allegations came as a shock to Sam, who had Phillips as a softball coach for all four years on JV and Varsity teams.

“He was a big part of [the FHS community],” Sam said. “He was also involved in the basketball program and he would help with the clinics we would do for softball for little girls. He also helped with [refereeing football].”  

A letter sent to CUSD staff and families stated that “the district is fully committed to the safety of its students and will cooperate with law enforcement in this matter.” 

On April 12, Captain Craig Anderson said at a press conference that Phillips confessed to allegations made against him by the survivor, who reported the sexual assault to the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety last week. According to Anderson, the “very deliberate and almost brazen actions by the suspect at the time” has led authorities to suspect there may be other victims.

“You know someone, and then all of a sudden, [you] don’t know [them],” Sam said. “It’s just crazy to me that it’s [someone] so close to me and so close to the community. Today was just a very emotional day.”