Sypher 'prays' police investigation of Pitino will lead somewhere - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Sypher 'prays' police investigation of Pitino will lead somewhere

By Bennett Haeberle, WDRB-TV Fox 41 News

In the two months since she was first charged, Karen Cunagin Sypher continues to maintain her innocence.

She has pleaded not guilty to charges of extortion and lying to the FBI.

Federal authorities say she tried to coerce millions of dollars out of UofL basketball coach Rick Pitino stemming from an encounter they had in 2003.

This week her name again drew media attention after it was revealed she recently had approached sex crimes detectives with Louisville Metro Police to file a complaint. The department acknowledged Monday it was investigating Pitino.

"My family and I continue to stand strong together, knowing that I am still the victim. I remain constant for my truth to be told and for my children to be known; that the justice system doesn't work just for the rich and powerful but also for the common citizen," Sypher told Fox 41 News during a phone interview Tuesday.

Pitino's attorney Steve Pence says the coach has cooperated and passed an independent polygraph test.

He also said Sypher's allegations were "false" and just "an extension of her fraud" against the coach and his family.

Neither Sypher or Pence would disclose what was said to detectives.

When Sypher was asked if she thought the investigation would lead anywhere, she replied: "I definitely pray it will." 

Last month, another man, Lester Goetzinger, was charged with aiding and abetting Sypher the alleged extortion plot.  Prosecutors say he made threatening phone calls in February to Pitino demanding money.

Goetzinger's attorney, John Barry, said his client was persuaded to make the calls because of sexual trist he had with Sypher.  A charge Sypher denies.

"We actually sit at the house and laugh at these comments," said Sypher.

Days after those phone calls were made, sources confirm a meeting took place at the Yum Center on UofL's campus between Pitino and Sypher. It's there that she presented the coach with the list of demands.

Demands that included cars, tuition for her children, and later $10 million.  Pitino says the past months have been hard.

Sypher claims the constant media coverage has diminished her right to a presumption of innocence.

"I feel like I've been raped of that. Yes. Totally," said Sypher.

UofL has remained quiet about the fact its head basketball coach is the subject of a police investigation. 

UofL President James Ramsey and Athletic Director Tom Jurich were out of the state, a spokesman said the university might have a comment by Wednesday.

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