Rick Pitino Details Sexual Encounter With Woman Accused Of Extorting Him

  • David Helene

Rick Pitino took the stand against Karen Sypher today and testified that Sypher initiated the sexual encounter that occurred between them in July of 2003; Pitino testified, moreover, that Sypher subsequently tried to extort him.

The testimony, according to the AP, marked the first time that the Louisville coach had spoken publicly about the incident.

Sypher is under trial for the latter accusation–namely, for extortion–and, as one would expect, Pitino’s testimony was faithful to the charge.  Pitino stated that Sypher sought money, cars, and a home from him in exchange for her silence regarding their ‘very brief’ moment of passion (which, for Pitino, was extramarital).

Sypher, however, has pleaded not guilty to this charge; yet her defense, which rests on the accusation that Pitino raped her–an accusation that she made in a police report in July of last year–already appears questionable, as police and prosecutors threw the case out due to lack of citable evidence.

Pitino’s testimony, which detailed a variety events, outlined a chronology of developments as follows:

  • July of 2003, Pitino and Sypher engage in mutual sexual intercourse, which Sypher initiates.
  • Weeks later in 2003, Pitino receives a call from Sypher claiming that she is pregnant; Pitino gives Sypher $3,000 with which she aborts the child (Pitino was unaware that the money would be spent for such purposes).
  • Within the same year, Pitino’s assistant coach Tim Sypher weds Karen Sypher.
  • February 26, 2009, Pitino receives a cell phone message that details event of July 2003.  The voice, which belonged to Lester Goetzinger, mentions rape.
  • March 2009, Tim Sypher delivers a note from Karen Sypher that demands money, cars, and a home.
  • Sypher meets with Pitino and records the meeting without Pitino’s knowledge.  She does not accuse him of rape.
  • Pitino receives a third call two days after his meeting with Sypher threatening that the sexual relationship will be made public unless he does “the right thing.”
  • April 18th, 2009, Pitino contacts the FBI and releases a public statement saying that he is the victim of an extortion attempt.
  • July 9th, 2009, Sypher files a police report saying Pitino raped her on 2 separate occasions.  The state of Kentucky does not file charges.

Objectively–and bear in mind that the defense is yet to make its case, which it will have the opportunity to do tomorrow–the direction of the trial would seem to favor Pitino for the following reasons:

1. Goetzinger, the mysterious male voice who repeatedly left Pitino threatening messages, testified–before Pitino took the stand–that he called Pitino only because Sypher had promised him sexual favors in return (So Sypher apparently used sex to get something she wanted…which is technically prostitution…not good for her defense…)

2. Sypher, moreover, was confirmed by multiple witnesses to have appeared to have been actively pursuing Pitino at the restaurant (although this does not necessarily mean she could not have changed her mind).

3. Lastly, as previously mentioned, the state of Kentucky has already deemed Sypher’s defense as weak, as her accusation of sexual assault was thrown out by police and prosecutors last July.

Again, however, the jury is yet to hear the defense, so more on this tomorrow.