A former police detective in Kansas who had long been suspected of raping and terrorizing Black women as he patrolled the streets of Kansas City has been indicted on federal charges that he repeatedly sexually assaulted two women over several years while on duty, the Justice Department said on Thursday.
The former police officer and captain, Roger Golubski, 69, who was arrested on Thursday, faces six federal counts of civil rights violations, according to federal prosecutors, who say he sexually assaulted two women multiple times from 1998 to 2002. If convicted, Mr. Golubski would face a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
Ophelia Williams, one of the two women whom the Justice Department contends Mr. Golubski raped, said by phone on Thursday night that an arrest was not enough for her. “I want him to get convicted,” said Ms. Williams, 60.
The Justice Department, which did not name the victims, said in a news release that Mr. Golubski raped the other victim in his vehicle.
At a court hearing on Thursday, Mr. Golubski pleaded not guilty to all six charges and a judge set a hearing for Monday on whether Mr. Golubski should be held in jail before his trial, The Associated Press reported.
Mr. Golubski could not be reached for comment on Thursday night. His lawyer, Tom Lemon, did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on Thursday.
Chief Karl Oakman of the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department said by phone on Thursday that the indictment of Mr. Golubski, who retired as a captain in 2010 after 35 years on the force, showed that “no one is above the law.” He added that “whenever there’s any allegation of any officer doing something, it affects your community trust and engagement.”
Still, Chief Oakman said, he did not think that Mr. Golubski’s actions from decades ago had severely strained his department’s current relationship with the community.
Some activists and residents, however, disagreed, saying that Mr. Golubski’s notoriety as an abusive officer who they say specifically preyed on Black women had created a sense of fear in the city that has persisted for decades.
“He was a predator,” said Lora McDonald, the executive director of MORE2, a local civil rights organization.
His actions went unpunished for decades, she said, because his job had granted him a level of impunity. If a police officer is the attacker, she asked, whom do you call?
For years, Ms. McDonald said, residents in Kansas City would whisper stories about the white officer who harassed Black women at their homes or jobs, making lewd comments and picking up vulnerable women, such as drug addicts, in his police car.
Awareness of the accusations against Mr. Golubski grew during the case of Lamonte McIntyre, a man who was in prison for 23 years for a crime he did not commit and who was freed in 2017. He claimed in a lawsuit filed in 2018 that in addition to Mr. Golubski framing him for murder, the officer had also sexually assaulted Black women, including his mother.
Rosie McIntyre, Lamonte’s mother, said in court documents that Mr. Golubski forced her to perform a sex act and that he had threatened to arrest her boyfriend if she refused. The accusation was the most public one yet, and it eventually spurred the F.B.I. to get involved, Ms. McDonald said. Mr. McIntyre’s lawsuit was settled earlier this year for $12.5 million, the largest public wrongful conviction settlement in Kansas history, The Kansas City Star reported.
At least seven more women came forward as a result of Mr. McIntyre’s lawsuit to say that the detective had extorted sexual favors. Some said he would threaten to arrest them if they refused to have sex with him.
Ms. Williams, one of the two women at the center of the Justice Department’s case, said that in 1999, her twin sons, who were teenagers at the time, were arrested and wrongly charged in connection with a murder.
Days after the arrest, Mr. Golubski knocked on her front door, she said. Ms. Williams let him in, thinking they would discuss her sons’ case.
He told her that he knew the prosecutor involved in the case, Ms. Williams said, and implied that he could help them out. Then, she said, Mr. Golubski placed his hand on her leg. She knocked it away. Then he placed his hand on her leg again, Ms. Williams said, and tried to go up her skirt. Again, she said, she snatched it away.
Mr. Golubski then became more aggressive, she said.
“He threw me down on the couch,” Ms. Williams said, “and raped me.”
She said Mr. Golubski raped her at least three more times in her house.
“Some say, ‘Why didn’t you call the police?’” Ms. Williams said. “Hell, he is the police. The police is there already.”
Mr. Golubski threatened her multiple times, she said.
“He always told me if I told anybody, that, you know, he’ll kill me,” Ms. Williams said.
For years, as she helped raise her five granddaughters, she was stricken with a sense of hopelessness, she said.
Early Thursday morning, she got a call from an unknown number. A woman’s voice said hello to her. The woman told Ms. Williams that she was with the F.B.I.
Ms. Williams recalled the F.B.I. official telling her a startling fact: Mr. Golubski had been arrested at his home just moments earlier.
“I started screaming and crying,” Ms. Williams said. “Because I couldn’t believe it.”