The words that Rosie McIntyre chooses to describe what occurred in the police detective’s office are as searing as the allegation.
“I felt like I was a n----r slave,” she said through tears.
For a black woman, there’s hardly anything more degrading, she went on, explaining through wavering emotions. The feeling was that she was a nobody — owned, expected to perform sexually for a white man’s pleasure.
She knew she was vulnerable in the police station that day in the late 1980s, a divorced mother struggling to raise five children alone. Still, she was stunned when the detective shut the lights off and began to shove aside her clothing. When she later tried to report to the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department the sexual things that she says the detective did — “nasty things” — she was told that police officers don’t do such things.
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For years, not being believed has kept her silent. Only recently has McIntyre begun to accept how her own victimization may have led to that of her son, who spent 23 years spent wrongfully incarcerated for a double murder he did not commit, before being released in October.
Her son, Lamonte, was wrongfully convicted in 1994, when he was 18, in a trial marked by shocking malfeasance, including witness intimidation, lackadaisical defense work, lack of physical evidence and generally shoddy police work.
Lamonte McIntyre is 41, and something of local celebrity now that he has been exonerated.
Less well-known is that Colyer quietly signed another bill into law earlier in the month. That one should have been called Rosie’s Law because Rosie McIntyre was the inspiration. It makes it a crime for a law enforcement officer to have sexual relations with any person who is pulled over in a traffic stop, interrogated or detained.
Sexual misconduct is among the top complaints made about police, possibly second only to use-of-force complaints. And, like all cases of sexual assault, it’s underreported.
For nearly two decades, Rosie McIntyre kept quiet. She never linked what had happened to her with her son’s incarceration.
The accused detective, now retired, is Roger Golubski. Neither Golubski nor his attorney has responded to questions.
McIntyre hadn’t known until years after her son’s conviction that Golubski was the detective who investigated the double murder for which her son is now exonerated.
She alleges that another police officer opened the door as she was being sexually assaulted, but he backed out just as quickly, as if this were a common occurrence and not to be interrupted.
It may well have been common. Affidavits filed to earn Lamonte McIntyre a new trial attested to the detective’s readiness to abuse his badge, to seek sex from poor black women, prostitutes and drug-addicted women.
Golubski’s reputation was confirmed in the documents by a former police officer in the same department at the time, by a retired FBI agent and other black women from the community.
If you are wondering where the outrage behind the Black Lives Matter movement or the #MeToo movement come from, it’s the pain of the McIntyres’ stories.
Rosie McIntyre says she rebuffed the detective’s subsequent requests for trysts, to make her one of his black girlfriends. She thinks this angered him.
Her son’s arrest came several years later, in 1994. A lineup for the mishandled double murder case included three of McIntyre’s relatives: two of her sons and a nephew.
What makes her pain even worse is the thought that she was chosen for abuse because she would be doubted, that she wouldn’t have the resources or the emotional fortitude to keep pushing for herself to be believed and to continue her quest to prove her son’s innocence.
She chose to fight for her son, and she kept silent about what had happened to her. But eventually she did open up to an investigator with Centurion Ministries, the Princeton, N.J., organization that spent 14 years working on her son’s exoneration.
And it was only this year that Kansas state Rep. Cindy Holscher got involved, introducing legislation to close off the way allegations can be brushed aside when an officer claims the sexual contact was consensual.
We hear about the plight of young black men, about their struggles for respect from law enforcement officers. Their mothers suffer too, sometimes in unspeakable and unimaginable ways.