The saga involving Karen Cunagin Sypher and University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino took another ugly turn this week, with self-described “Fertile Myrtle” filing a child abuse report against Pitino and her ex-husband Tim Sypher.
The claim involves Karen Sypher’s 5-year-old daughter, who lives with her father and is involved in a nasty child-custody dispute between the two. Neither Pitino nor Tim Sypher’s attorney would comment on the charges made in the complaint.
In a telephone interview with LEO Weekly, attorney Steve Pence, who is representing Pitino, confirmed that Child Protective Services interviewed the coach yesterday, and that they have contacted U.S. Attorney David J. Hale’s office to file a counter complaint.
“Any allegation of that nature is absolutely false and ridiculous,” Pence says. “Ms. Sypher is continuing to engage in the conduct for which she was convicted and that is trying to embarrass Coach Pitino, retaliating against him for being a witness against her and making false statements against him. It’s a shame she has stooped to involving a child in this.”
In August, Karen Sypher, 50, was convicted in federal court for extortion, lying to the FBI and retaliating against a witness. Those charges stemmed from a 2003 sexual encounter between Sypher and Pitino. In 2009, Sypher told Louisville Metro Police that Pitino raped her and forced her to get an abortion. The coach has maintained the sex was consensual.
During the trial, federal prosecutors said Sypher fabricated those rape charges against the coach after she had tried to force him to pay for a house, cars and $10 million in exchange for her silence.
Sypher was scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 27, but the judge delayed her punishment because she did not have an attorney at the time. James Earhart, who represented Sypher during the federal trial, asked to be removed from the case earlier this month.
Over the past two weeks, Sypher has engaged in a bizarre public relations campaign, holding a press conference with her new attorney David B. Nolan of Washington-based U.S. Justice Watch to demand a retrial. Among the various accusations and conspiracy charges made by Sypher’s new legal team is that Tim Sypher extinguished cigarette butts on his daughter’s back, although no police report has been filed.
Nolan was unavailable for comment.
“When she makes an allegation, that alone has been credible evidence that it is false. Not a single one of her accusations has been proven. She just dreams this stuff up,” says attorney Jim McCrocklin, who is representing Tim Sypher. “What you’ve seen the last week with this new team and all this, it looks like a desperate person. I don’t know if she likes the attention, but I look at her conduct in the last 10 days, and it doesn’t look like a sane person making rational decisions.”
Calling the complaint baseless, McCrocklin confirmed that Tim Sypher contacted the Child Protective Services investigator and have scheduled a meeting with the agency Friday morning. “Tim is not just a good father,” he says. “He’s a devoted father.”