The Kansas City Star, Jan. 3

A 5-foot-9-inch, 250-pound white male accused of sexually assaulting dozens of mostly poor Black women is at large in Kansas City, Kansas.

No need to put out an APB, though, because the suspect, former homicide detective Roger Golubski, who retired in good standing and with a full pension from the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department, isn’t in hiding. There’s no mystery about his whereabouts, right in Wyandotte County, where he’s lived all his life.

In a November deposition in a civil case against him, Golubski mostly declined to answer questions by invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. He did that a nice round 555 times.

Among the questions he wouldn’t answer were these: Did he have a sideline in selling drugs and “facilitating prostitution” while he was a police detective? Ever get charges dismissed in return for sex? Ever rape a minor in his cop car? Or threaten to harm a woman if she turned him in?

Also this one: “You closed dozens of cases by manipulating witnesses to give false testimony?” And this: “Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, you used your network of women on the streets to provide false information to close your cases, correct?”

Golubski did, however, talk about the four years he spent in a Catholic seminary, studying to become a priest. And noted that though he is so faithful that he kept a prayer book in his police office “until someone stole it,” he never lost sight of how important it is to observe the separation of church and state. (For the record, that’s one line he does not stand accused of crossing.)

He also complained that the department didn’t throw him much of a retirement bash 10 years ago when he left after 35 years on the force. A plate of cookies from Price Chopper is “not my definition of a party,” said Golubski, who is 68. Nor did he get a gold watch. “It must have got lost in the mail.”

He did not go away empty handed; the police department’s platinum-plated gift to Roger Golubski was silence: Roger who? Even now, a department spokeswoman says nobody there knows anything about the allegations against him, though his former partner, Terry Zeigler, only stepped down as chief of police a little more than a year ago.

Women who say Golubski held his badge over them for years are finally ending their silence, though, despite very real fears for their physical safety.

One such woman, who also gave a deposition in November, testified under oath about meeting Golubski when he arrived at her home, along with a bunch of other Kansas City, Kansas police officers, early one morning in 1999.

Her sons were marched to a squad car, and while other officers searched her home, Golubski never left her side. “I asked him questions about what was going on. He was too busy looking at me, staring at me, telling me how nice I looked and that I had nice legs.”

And how did she feel about that? “I didn’t feel too good, because they had my sons out in the police car, and I was mainly worried about them and he making all of these side comments about my body. I didn’t like that at all. I thought it was inappropriate.”

That was only a preview, she testified. A few days later, while she was “devastated” and “sick” with worry for her boys, Golubski, who was the lead investigator in the case against them, dropped by again.

And once again, “I was talking about my son. He was talking about my legs and how a friend he can be to me … He said he can help me out with my kids. He said he knew the D.A. because they are friends and that they go to the bar.”

She was scared, as he “kept moving close to me. I really didn’t know what was going to do until he put his hand on my leg and I slapped it off. And then he said he can really help me out, help my sons out. And then he put his hand back. But that time, he pushed the hands all the way up under my skirt … I asked him what was he trying to do. And so I stood up. He stood up. And next thing I know, he pushed me on the couch and unzipped his pants.”

Golubski raped her, she said, all the while telling her he wasn’t going to hurt her and that it would be over soon. When it was, he wiped himself off, took the roll of paper towels he’d used to do that with him, and left. “I was sitting there crying, and he didn’t say nothing.”

This happened many times, she said, and no, she never called the police. “He was the police. What was I going to say — this policeman just raped me?”

On one occasion, she testified, Golubski told her that his partner, Zeigler, had come with him and was waiting in the car outside. The former police chief did not respond to multiple messages from The Star seeking comment, and Golubski’s lawyer declined to comment.

Her account of being targeted when she was most vulnerable is not unlike the story of another woman I interviewed months ago, Teresa Randolph, who said that on the 2008 night that a SWAT team came to her home to charge her father in a fatal shooting, Golubski made his way to her bedroom and closed the door behind him. “I was in my bedclothes, he was sitting on my bed, and it felt almost violating, very uncomfortable.”

Then and in a number of later phone calls, she said, he told her he could help her father if she’d meet him alone. “I always suggested that there would be another party there, and he said, ‘I’ll call you another time.’’’ The last time they spoke, “he got angry with me and said I was too educated for him.”

What Golubski is really accused of is playing God in Kansas City, Kansas, for decades, stealing from some and giving to others, behaving violently with some women and buying groceries for others. Sometimes, his accusers say, he offered carrots like help getting a new apartment in return for testimony, while at other times threatening women that their children would be taken away or that the men in their lives would be sent to prison if they didn’t do as he said.

The case that’s finally bringing all of this to light started with Lamonte McIntryre, who served 23 years in prison for a 1994 double murder that he didn’t commit, and that Golubski was in charge of investigating. When the former detective was deposed, it was as part of the civil case being brought by McIntryre and his mother Rose, who has said in sworn testimony that Golubski sexually assaulted her and framed her then 17-year-old son when she refused to continue being coerced. In Golubski’s legal answer to the suit, he has denied any wrongdoing.

Behind all of the corruption that he’s accused of getting away with for so long was the assumption that no one was ever going to believe the word of a bunch of powerless Black women over a man with a badge and a gun, who by the time he retired had risen to the rank of police captain.

But it’s long past time for their stories to be told, listened to and acted on.

If even one of them is true, why is Roger Golubski still walking around free, glum that he didn’t get a better send-off from the job? When is the FBI, whose investigators have been interviewing those who’ve known him off and on for years, finally going to do something?

Is no one in the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department at all curious about the extent and the impact of these alleged crimes? Or the potential abuse of power by those who were supposed to be protecting the community? If not, what does that say about the culture of the department, not just then but now?

Is no one in authority willing to take a second look at Golubski’s old cases? Or worried about how they’ll ever have any credibility until all of the facts are known and acknowledged?

It was Roger Golubski who inspired the Kansas law that spelled out that cops can’t have sex with anyone they’ve arrested or detained. In his honor, such as it is, the state should also change the statute of limitations on rape so that even a case from, say, 1999, could be prosecuted.

In the past, Zeigler has suggested that any allegations against his former partner and the department that he until recently led are old news. They are not. And until they’re addressed, what has changed?

Officials can continue to plead ignorance, but at a terrible price, and not only for those whose trust wasn’t so much betrayed as it was never allowed to grow. There is no statute of limitations on complicity.


The Manhattan Mercury, Jan. 2

Back when I went to school, this was always the hardest part of the year: The long slog between Christmas break and spring break. In 2021, that’s going to be true for the rest of us, too. Back to that in a minute.

Fall was easy, all the excitement of new beginnings and leaves turning color, and the chill in the evening air after the relentless heat of August. Football games, homecoming, Thanksgiving...and then the anticipation of break. It just flew by.

Meanwhile, the time between spring break and the end of school flew even faster. It’s as if the finish line had a giant magnet, pulling us in. Prom (or the equivalent), awards ceremonies, the smell of lilacs, anticipation, finals. Boom. No more teachers, no more school. School’s out for summer.

But from early January to mid-March, that’s a rough patch in northeast Kansas. Long nights, short days, bare trees, and...what? Valentine’s Day? It’s just a long march, one foot in front of the other through the slush, dressing in four layers, your car covered in road salt and mud.

That’s the way I see the first quarter of 2021. Yes, there’s hope, because there’s a vaccine. But there aren’t enough doses for everyone, not even close, and so we still have to act like there isn’t one. We have to remain cooped up at home, we have to stay away from each other, we have to wear the mask. We have to go straight into Lent, do not pass Mardi Gras, do not collect $200.

The likelihood is that we won’t all be vaccinated until something more like July. But the dynamics change when the weather warms up, because we can get out and do some more things. Basically, we just gotta get to spring break.

OK, OK, I realize there’s actually no spring break this year at K-State. I’m using this as a metaphor. The point is, the next three months are going to be really crummy. We just simply have to push through it, one day at a time, doing what we all know we’re supposed to do.

We blow it, and we’ll flunk our finals. We do the right thing, and we’ll make the honor roll.

And let me be entirely clear here, in the event the gravity gets lost in the metaphor. There are 20 people dead thus far in Riley County. The hospital this week had more virus patients in than ever; three died in a two-day timeframe. We’re not actually talking A’s, B’s and C’s. We’re talking about the lives of our friends and neighbors.

But the point is the same: Now is the hard part. One slushy foot in front of the other.


The Topeka Capital-Journal, Jan. 2

Seriously, Kansas county officials, what will it take?

Does it take your residents falling ill and crowding hospitals? Does it take them succumbing to a pandemic because medical resources are stretched too thin? Or does it simply take COVID-19 finally affecting a family member or close friend?

These are strong words, we know. But the story last week from The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Andrew Bahl is most concerning.

“Multiple Kansas counties are backing off mask mandates they implemented last month as COVID-19 cases increased ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, with local elected officials arguing that they had weathered the wave of infections,” Bahl wrote. “But they are doing so over the guidance of local public health officials and hospital administrators, who say caution is still warranted.”

This is, to use the technical term, nuts.

Yes, COVID-19 cases have dropped from their pre-Thanksgiving high. But one of the reasons that have dropped was that many Kansas counties finally dropped their resistance to mask mandates. As has been shown time and again, wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings are all effective at reducing the risk of virus transmission.

So because a public health tactic has worked, because fewer people are becoming sick — it’s time to stop? That makes no sense whatsoever.

Titus Wu’s story in The Capital-Journal, also last week, shows what’s at stake. Diann Mendez Windmeyer Hall, 68, died three days before Christmas. She struggled with the virus for about a month before passing.

“The more infectious our society becomes, by not wearing masks and by just going out, it makes it more likely and more probable that somebody who is vulnerable ... that they’re going to get the disease and suffer or possibly even die from COVID,” said son Shane Windmeyer. “I don’t understand why that is political.”

Yes, we have a vaccine. Yes, help is on the way. But we all have to persist through these next few months. The rollout of the inoculations has been bumpy, as state and local health departments across the nation have worked to prioritize those in need.

Until we all have the shots we need, and until we are able to truly reduce and eliminate risk, now is not the time to reduce restrictions. Now is not the time to end mask mandates or say that normalcy is returning.

It will. But not yet.