Ex-KCK cop Golubski exits courthouse ‘cracking up,’ after getting off easy again | Opinion

Kansas U.S. Magistrate Judge Rachel Schwartz opened the Wednesday hearing by saying that she had already decided against sending former KCKPD detective Roger Golubski to jail, so no discussion of his illegal recent lunch stop while on house arrest would be necessary. She was not going to be revoking his pretrial release, as federal prosecutors had asked her to do, but would instead firmly admonish him not to do that again.

If you’re guessing this talking-to chastened the accused rapist and sex trafficker, what’s your second guess?

Golubski and his lawyer, Chris Joseph, walked out of the federal courthouse laughing, said Kansas City, Kansas, activist Cece Harlin, who’d left court early “because it hurt too much.”

“They were cracking up,” she said, while for victims, it was another heartbreaking day.

In an email, Joseph responded that “I have no idea whether we laughed about something or not. But I can assure you that any laughter, it there was any, was not about the judge’s decision or the seriousness of the allegations.” Maybe, he said, they were just enjoying their usual banter with court security officers.

“But again, I had no clue what she’s talking about.”

Schwartz was not jailing Golubski, she said, because his unsanctioned Jan. 23 lunch stop at the Culver’s in KCK, where a “concerned citizen” caught him on videotape, was his first such violation.

But was it? We don’t know any such thing, though prosecutors could find out easily enough.

One Golubski victim said after the hearing that a friend of hers had seen him at the Walmart in the Legends shopping center with his grandson over Christmas. Another said he’d been spotted visiting a former police colleague on KCK’s Savage Drive last April 15.

Without proof, maybe yes and maybe no, right? I personally, though, know no one busted for anything on his first walk on the wrong side of the street. Do you?

Electronic monitor, cellphone records

The point is that we don’t have to guess whether Golubski slipped away one time or hundreds. Because isn’t the whole reason we have electronic monitoring to know where the person who is under that monitoring is at all times?

Have prosecutors bothered to look back through the records to find the answer? I asked federal prosecutor Tara Allison that question in an email, but she didn’t respond.

Also, shouldn’t prosecutors have been told by Golubski’s probation officer that he’d violated the terms of his house arrest on Jan. 23? Instead, they had to hear it by happenstance, on Feb. 5, and even then waited weeks to do anything about it.

Is that probation officer going to be disciplined at all, or just allowed to go on as she has been?

In court on Thursday, the judge noted that it was highly unusual to get a motion to revoke home detention from the prosecution without it first having been recommended by probation officers. Why didn’t probation get involved here, and doesn’t that in itself indicate a problem?

Even without electronic monitoring, Golubski’s cellphone records could presumably tell us the story of his whereabouts since his arrest in September of 2022.

Remember how the South Carolina Lowcountry lawyer Alex Murdaugh was convicted of killing his wife and son? That only happened because Murdaugh’s cell records told us that he was exactly where they were on their hunting estate at the time they were murdered. If small-town cops in a county run by the Murdaughs for generations can figure such things out, then so can the FBI, no?

If federal officials care to find out, I don’t think the answers are beyond knowing.

Thursday’s hearing was even more painful, according to women who have accused Golubski of abusing them, because of the hearing that immediately preceded the Golubski matter in the same courtroom.

In that case, federal prosecutor Stephen Hunting energetically argued that the 50-year-old grandmother who he said was part of a “clan of Romanians” involved in “high-end theft from jewelry stores” in Kansas should not be allowed to stay with her daughter and four grandchildren on house arrest, but should for security’s sake have to be incarcerated. And in that case, Schwartz agreed while the woman sobbed.

“She put that lady in jail for stealing jewelry,” the activist Harlin said, crying, too, “but Golubski has been stealing lives for decades,” and yet can still sleep in his own bed.

‘Already knew that was just a waste of time’

Even Golubski’s talking-to from the judge was as mild as most of this last week’s weather in Kansas City: No more “going into a restaurant in the community,” Schwartz told him. “To the extent you may have thought that was OK, it’s not, going forward.”

Golubski’s lawyer, Chris Joseph, asked her to clarify for his Eagle Scout client whether that meant he could still stop for gas en route to his various appointments. Yes, she said, but without much leeway beyond that. So, Joseph probed, he “can’t go in and get a hot dog?”

“None of that,” the judge answered.

No wonder the hot dog-deprived defendant exited laughing, while his victims pretended that they had known all along not to get their hopes up again.

“We already knew that was just a waste of time,” said Ophelia Williams, who has said Golubski started raping her right after he came to her home to arrest her 14-year-old twins.

Maybe next time he’s caught there will be some consequences, said Michelle Houcks, who has said Golubski kidnapped and raped her and then threated to kill her and her brother if she told a soul.

“He will do it again,” so maybe everyone in Kansas City, Kansas, needs to get ready to record Golubski’s next outing, Houcks said, “because he thinks he’s above the law. And it’s been proven,” for now, anyway, that he’s right.

A victim I’ve known for several years who came to the hearing on Thursday but does not want her name in the paper said she’d still like to thank the woman who stepped up and took that video in the KCK Culver’s. “She was our guardian angel,” she said, quick-thinking and brave as a warrior, while most people would have just said oh, look who that is over there. The woman who made and shared that video is appreciated, she said, even if her courage was not immediately rewarded.