© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ex-KCKPD officer Roger Golubski deploys old tactic against abuse allegations: Calling accusers liars

Former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective Roger Golubski testified in an October 2022 hearing in Wyandotte County Court about a homicide investigation in which he was accused of pressuring a witness to falsely convict two Kansas City, Kansas, men.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective Roger Golubski testified in an October 2022 hearing in Wyandotte County Court about a homicide investigation in which he was accused of pressuring a witness to falsely convict two Kansas City, Kansas, men.

Attorneys for Roger Golubski, facing federal charges that he sexually assaulted nine women by using the power of his badge, says the women are “simply smearing Golubski’s character.” The government is trying to prove a pattern of serial sexual abuse by a police officer over the course of decades.

Former Kansas City, Kansas, Police Detective Roger Golubski is using an age-old strategy to fight the sexual assault allegations against him, claiming that the case is a version of he said-she said.

Golubski, who will be in federal court Wednesday in Topeka, is asking a judge to deny prosecutors’ use of seven women as witnesses — named and numbered as “other victims” or “O.V.” 1-7 — because he says they are unproven allegations from decades ago.

The government’s case against Golubski says he violated the civil rights of two women, who are identified by their initials, S.K. and O.W. Prosecutors named theseven other women in an attempt to establish Golubski’s pattern of serial sexual assault of Black women from 1975 through 2010, when he was a KCKPD officer. Golubski denies the allegations.

The seven women’s claims, Golubski's attorney Chris Joseph wrote in a January filing, are “simply smearing Golubski’s character” by making what he says are unproven claims from long ago.

“The government thinks a jury will more readily believe S.K. and O.W.’s allegations if they are presented among a chorus of voices accusing Golubski of sexual crimes and misconduct,” Joseph wrote. “But the voices joining the chorus suffer from similar credibility problems as S.K. and O.W.”

The women are simply in it for money, Joseph wrote, after watching Lamonte McIntyre, a KCK man Golubski allegedly framed for a double murder but who was exonerated in 2017, win a civil suit. McIntyre and his mother won a $12.5 million settlement in 2022 against the Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas, and Wyandotte County.

“Although every sexual assault in the government’s motion is alleged to have occurred at least two and up to four decades ago, there is no substantiated evidence that any of the accusers ever made these claims until after Lamonte McIntyre’s cases were the subject of rumors, rallies, and news headlines,” Joseph wrote.

Golubski, 72, has been on house arrest since he was initially charged in September 2022, and has not attended recent hearings, citing poor health. He has said he suffers from diabetes, renal failure and heart problems.

’Gold digger’ as a common archetype

Prosecutors are asking U.S. District Judge Toby Crouse to use the other victims' testimony under two federal rules that allow them to show evidence of other offenses relevant to their case. Prosecutors say the previous alleged assaults show Golubski used his law enforcement status to target and exploit many vulnerable Black women without being held to account.

A group of accusers can be a powerful tool for prosecutors, said Deborah Tuerkheimer, a Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law professor and author of “Credible, Why We Doubt Accusers and Protect Abusers.”

But what Tuerkheimer calls the “credibility discount” works well for the defense, who use it in most sexual assault cases. Our society often dismisses claims made by women, especially those who are more marginalized, she said.

She wasn't surprised by Golubski’s use of the tactic, calling it “a very familiar playbook." Those same biases work outside of court because even well-intentioned people have them, Tuerkheimer said.

“Jurors are lay people like the rest of us,” she said, “and so when we think about judging credibility, we have to think about what happens in our daily lives and the kinds of myths, biases, archetypes that are deployed on a daily basis outside the courtroom in order to predict what’s likely to happen within a courtroom.”

Accusations the women solely made their claims in hopes of getting money plays on the familiar trope of the “gold digger,” one of the archetypes of lying women Tuerkheimer writes about.

“This is the woman who lies to get money and often to do that through some sort of civil suit,” she said. “This is one that we see often in cross-examination of victims, and in arguments in court, and it can be persuasive.”

Motion promises questioning of alleged victims

Joseph, Golubski’s attorney, also argued that not all the victims have stories like S.K., who was 13 when she says Golubski raped her and threatened to kill her grandmother if she told anyone; or O.W., who was “vintage” as a 37-year-old mother of two boys who had been arrested for a double murder.

O.W., who has come forward with her name, Ophelia Williams, says Golubski repeatedly raped her in the 1990s after promising help her with her son’s criminal case.

Joseph has also aimed at victims directly. OV5 retracted some of her allegations in a follow-up FBI interview, Joseph wrote, and was later turned down for a TSA job with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security because she allegedly gave dishonest answers to questions about her criminal history.

Joseph wrote that the trials will take longer if the court has to go through each victim’s story and their medical or psychological history.

“Experts will likely be needed to address the potential that OV4’s reported brain tumor, stroke, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression have affected her memory or contributed to the creation of false memories and/or confabulation,” Joseph wrote.

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.