Women and girls, who were as young as 13, experienced violence, abuse, rape and death threats from 1996 to 1998, according to a federal indictment.
A former police detective in Kansas who was charged in September with sexually assaulting two women while on duty more than two decades ago now faces new federal charges that he helped three other men run a violent sex trafficking operation that preyed on underage girls in the 1990s, the Justice Department said on Monday.
The former detective, Roger Golubski, 69, and the other men were each charged with one count of conspiring to hold young women in a condition of involuntary servitude and one count of forcing a woman to provide sexual services to adult men, including themselves, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas.
The three other men — Cecil Brooks, LeMark Roberson and Richard Robinson, who the authorities said had been emboldened and shielded for years by Mr. Golubski — were also charged with holding a woman in involuntary servitude and forcing her to provide sexual services to Mr. Roberson, according to the indictment, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan.
If convicted of all crimes, the men could each face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Mr. Golubski’s lawyer, Christopher Joseph, said in a statement that “Roger maintains his innocence and looks forward to clearing his name from these decades-old and uncorroborated allegations.”
Mr. Brooks and Mr. Roberson are in custody out of state and have not yet appeared in court, Mr. Joseph said.
Mr. Robinson’s lawyer, Justin Johnston, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday night.
The indictment came less than three months after Mr. Golubski had been charged with six federal counts in connection with sexual assaults on two women more than two decades ago.
Lucas Behrens, a community organizer with MORE2, a local civil rights organization, said by phone on Monday night that the new charges announced on Monday gave credence to the activists and residents who had long accused the Kansas City Police Department of malfeasance.
Mr. Golubski, who is white, was particularly notorious, activists said, with Black women accusing him of terrorizing their community. He retired from the Police Department as a captain in 2010.
The indictment against the four men, which was unsealed on Monday, charges that they ran a sex-trafficking operation from 1996 to 1998 at the Delevan apartment complex in Kansas City, Kan.
According to the indictment, Mr. Golubski would accept money from Mr. Brooks, who ran the apartment complex, to the protect the three men from law enforcement agencies as they “used physical beatings, sexual assaults and threats to compel young women to provide sexual services to men.” Prosecutors said the defendants would also kidnap victims.
The indictment states that Mr. Brooks had “paid off law enforcement so that officers would provide warnings when police were about to ‘hit’ the house.”
The Kansas City Police Department did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on Monday night.
Mr. Brooks used one unit at the apartment complex as an office where he stored guns, drugs and cash and held meetings, according to prosecutors.
Mr. Brooks would target women and girls as young as 13 who had just been released from the Beloit Juvenile Correctional Facility or who had run away from broken homes and would force them into sex trafficking, the indictment states. Mr. Golubski, the police officer, “primarily chose young Black girls, ranging in age from 13 to 17 years old, to submit to sex and to provide sexual services to him,” the indictment states.
The Delevan complex was split into the “office unit,” where Mr. Brooks could lock girls in from the outside; the “relaxed” area, where girls would use alcohol and drugs; and a “working house,” where they were compelled to perform sexual services for adult men, the indictment states.
One of the girls, a teenager who had just been released from the Beloit Juvenile Correctional Facility and whose mother had died by suicide, was moved into the office unit at Delavan and was held inside from September 1996 to October 1997, the indictment states.
That teenager, who escaped from the apartment complex in October 1997, went to a hospital after experiencing severe abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding because she was suffering from an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when a fertilized egg implants in the wrong place in a woman’s body, according to charging documents.
Mr. Roberson, who had refused to allow her to leave to go a hospital, had impregnated her, the indictment states. On a separate occasion, he struck her with an iron and dragged her down a staircase by her hair while Mr. Brooks watched and laughed, according to the indictment.
Another teenager moved into Delevan at 16 after she had been released from the correctional facility. She initially lived in the “relaxed” area but was moved into the “working house.” She was forced to provide sexual services to men for four months to avoid being beaten, the indictment states. She ran away after she had received death threats and was repeatedly raped, according to prosecutors.
Mr. Behrens, the community organizer with MORE2, said the actions described in the indictment were indicative of a corrupt Police Department.
“This,” he said, “is the tip of the iceberg.”
Ophelia Williams, one of the women whom the Justice Department contended in September Mr. Golubski had raped, said by phone on Monday night that though she was still distraught by the damage done to her by the Police Department, she felt “really excited that everybody will get some justice for what they did to us.”
She said of the four men, “I hope they get behind bars.”