Friday, February 18, 2011

False Accuser Sentenced to 7 Years, 3 Months for Extorting Money from Rick Pitino in Exchange for Her Silence that he Raped Her

"I am a victim still to this day.  I am still continually being raped by the public, the media, the government especially."  -- Karen Cunagin Sypher

Calling her offense "brazen," U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III sentenced Karen Cunagin Sypher today to seven years and three months in prison for trying to extort cash, cars and other payments from University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino in exchange for her silence that he supposedly raped her twice in 2003.

"It was driven apparently by sheer greed," the judge said. 

Case History
Here is what happened.  In mid-April 2009, Sypher began calling news organizations with supposed details of her now well-known story -- that she was raped at Porcini restaurant in 2003 and aborted a baby that resulted from that encounter. Pitino then released a statement on what he called a criminal scheme.  Pitino acknowledged he had sex once with Sypher, at the Porcini restaurant, but said it was consensual.  Six days later, the FBI charged Sypher with extortion. 

Only later, in July 2009, did Sypher go to police and report the alleged attack -- only after she was charged with extortion, and six years after she says the rapes occurred.  In the police interview, a police officer asked Sypher, "the question was why 6 years later?"  She seemed indignant that he would even ask the question. She answered, "they kept throwing me crumbs to keep me happy."

When the tape of that police interview was made public, an angry Pitino had enough. He called a press conference.

"The university said 'don't say anything' and the authorities say 'don't say anything,' well enough's enough," Pitino said. "I am saying something. It's a lie. It's a 100 percent lie."

Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Stengel later ruled that her allegations were without merit.

For a year, Sypher maintained she was telling the truth and her extortion trial finally started in July of last year. After eight days of testimony, it took the jury just six hours to find her guilty.

Today's Sentence
Today's sentence was the shortest possible sentence under federal sentencing guidelines. The Judge also ordered Sypher, 50, a former trade-show model and saleswoman, to serve two years of supervised release after she is let out of prison, during which she must have no contact with Pitino or other witnesses.

No Remorse
Sypher said last month, she still feels like she did nothing wrong.

"I am a victim still to this day," she said. "I am still continually being raped by the public, the media, the government especially."