Sypher case: a look back - News, Weather & Sports

Sypher case: a look back

By Janelle MacDonald - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - With Karen Sypher's sentencing Friday on federal extortion, retaliation and lying charges, near two years of drama that's played out in Louisville has ended.

It's been the talk of the town but it started with a simple press release.

In mid April 2009, University of Louisville men's basketball coach, Rick Pitino released a statement on what he called a criminal scheme after Sypher began calling new organizations with 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.

Six days later the FBI charged Sypher with extortion.

"They're very serious charges and we intend to defend against them vigorously," said Thomas Clay, Sypher's criminal attorney at that time.

Several months later, in July 2009, Sypher finally went to police and reported the alleged attack to LMPD Sex Crimes Unit Sergeant Andy Abbott. It was six years after she says it happened.

In the interview, Abbott asked Sypher, "the question was why 6 years later?"

She answered, "they kept throwing me crumbs to keep me happy."

The same day those tapes were made public, Pitino had finally 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."

For a year, Sypher maintained she was telling the truth and she would have her day in court. When she did, jurors didn't believe her. After eight days of testimony in late July and August 2010, it took the jury just six hours to find her guilty.

"I have sympathy for everyone involved in this case," said juror Brian Ross. "It's just a case all around (that) just stunk."

It took six months of appeals, new motions and denials for sentencing to finally happen and through it all, 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."

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