'Unrepentant heart'But 10 years after his last arrest, as Sypnier prepared to shed the closely monitored lifestyle of the halfway house, its director warned that the spry and active Sypnier has not changed from the manipulator who used his grandfatherly charm to snare and rape victims as young as 4.
"Whether he's 100 or 101 or 105, the same person that was committing these crimes 10, 25, 30 years ago still exists today and has an unrepentant heart," said the Rev. Terry King, director of Grace House, which has twice taken Sypnier in from prison. "He is someone that we as parents, as members of the community, any community, really need to fear."
Six months after marking his 100th birthday in the Groveland Correctional Facility — becoming the first New York inmate to reach the milestone while incarcerated — the retired telephone company worker now says he wants to get to know the youngest members of a family that has disowned him.
"I'll tell them I never harmed any children," the father, grandfather and great-grandfather told his hometown newspaper, The Buffalo News.
A former daughter-in-law said he is not likely to get the chance.
"No one from the family plans to have any contact with him," Diane Sypnier said before ending a brief phone interview.
Kids called him 'Grandpa'Being grandfatherly was how the 5-foot-5, 150-pound Sypnier found his victims, authorities say. After his most recent arrest at age 90 on charges of raping and sodomizing a 4-year-old girl and her 7-year-old sister, his neighbors in the suburb of Tonawanda recalled what appeared to be a kindly Sypnier offering rides to adults, handing out money to children so they could buy candy, and baby-sitting.
The victimized sisters called him "Grandpa," their mother said at the time, adding that it "was a total shock" when police showed her sexually explicit pictures of her girls found in Sypnier's apartment.
"The sheer notion of him wandering the streets unattended or unsupervised is a scary proposition," King said.