The NY Post this morning had a brief article about the woman who tried to extort $10 million from University of Kentucky basketball coach Rick Pitino:
A cop who took a rape complaint from the woman accused of extorting ex-Knick coach Rick Pitino said yesterday that she made crying sounds -- but never actually shed a tear.
Karen Sypher left out important details and contradicted herself several times when, during a taped interview in July 2009 at police headquarters, she claimed Pitino had raped her in two separate incidents, the sergeant who took the complaint testified yesterday.
At one point on the tape, he even confronted her about waiting nearly six years to file charges.
"I'm still trying to figure out: why now," Louisville Police Sgt. Andy Abbott, told Sypher, 50, after she was rambling about being a devout Catholic, her grandmother dying, and misgivings about having previously had an abortion....
She is accused of demanding college tuition for her children, her house to be paid off, and $10 million in exchange for her silence about a one night fling with Pitino on July 31, 2003, at the Porcini restaurant in Louisville.
That is pretty much all you need to know about Sypher. First, the crying sounds she made with no actual tears shed is a wonderful clue pointing to her emotional dishonesty -- as well as the perfect metaphor for sociopathy. Who pretends to cry without really crying? Someone whose modus operandi is to manipulate others. Most men's instincts would compel them to go to the aid of a crying woman; but cops deal with sociopaths all the time, and Sergeant Abbott saw through her immediately.
Her other statements, which had no direct bearing on the case, were also calculated to elicit sympathy. Talking about her "devout" Catholicism was aimed at winning over fellow Catholics, of whom she probably assumed Sergeant Abbott was one. Speaking of her dying grandmother -- if in fact she had one who was dying, and as if Sypher would care if she were -- was also calculated to milk sympathy. Finally, her "misgivings" about a previous abortion were calculated to make her look like a loving, feeling, caring person, all of which she is not.
The key word in the previous paragraph is "calculated." All of the emotions she displays are false, but she waves them around like a banner with "I am a Good Person" written on it. This phony emotionalism is a hallmark of sociopathy.
At another (but not entirely unrelated) level, this entire incident might also be read as a parable of greed. Had Sypher merely asked for $100,000, Pitino might have paid up and she might have gotten away with her scheme. But her greedy nature made her overreach, and that was part of her downfall.
It is often said that if you look into a sociopath's eyes there is nothing there. I often find this not to be the case. But if you look at the above photograph of Sypher, she does seem to be a bit of -- I'll go ahead and make the obvious pun -- an emotional cypher. The dyed hair, the slightly overdone makeup, the carefully fitted clothes meant to accentuate her killer body, all give a vague impression of falseness, but a lot of women dress to that effect, and it certainly doesn't mean they're sociopaths. But the blankness of Sypher's face is a little disconcerting.
Then again, I could be reading too much into her facial expression given what else we know of her. There is no misreading of her actions and words, however: they are all dead giveaways of her sociopathy.
Let's hope she gets a long sentence.
Addendum, 8/5/10: The jury at her trial found her guilty after just five hours of deliberation; she will be sentenced in October.