Rick Pitino, head men’s basketball coach at the University of Louisville, recently notified the FBI that he had been the victim of extortion by Karen Cunigan Sypher. The woman, who had an abortion paid for by the coach, has been arrested and charged with the crime. She was arraigned on April 24, 2009 and charged in U.S. District Court on charges of extortion and lying to federal agents.
Six years ago, Sypher and Pitino had sex in a restaurant after it had closed for the evening. She said that their August 2003 encounter was rape and he characterized it as consensual sex after an evening of drinking with his equipment manager’s wife. Two weeks after the incident, she told him that she was pregnant and would get an abortion. He admits that he gave her $3,000 for the procedure.
Syphers husband, Tim Sypher has been working for Coach Pitino since 1997 when he was hired on as a Boston Celtics team assistant. He followed Pitino on to Louisville in 2001 and has been on the payroll ever since.
The NCAA coach told FBI agents that Karen Sypher made extortion demands over the intervening years. She recently threatened that she would expose him unless he would agree to pay for the college educations of her four children, buy her two cars, pay off the mortgage on her home and pay her $3,000 per month.
Not able to keep up with the escalating demands, Pitino told his family about the entire sordid mess and they encouraged him to take the matter to authorities.
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