A notable voice in the QAnon movement — which believes, among other things, that the world is run by elite demonic paedophiles — has a criminal record stemming from an incident involving an inappropriate relationship with a minor, according to police.
According to The Daily Beast, Phil Godlewski, a leader in QAnon conspiracy theory circles, reportedly tried to sue a local newspaper for defamation, but in the process of discovery his inappropriate relation with a minor was revealed.
Raw Story reported that Mr Godlewski has 600,000 followers on Telegram and another 156,000 on Rumble, a YouTube alternative that has become a refuge for far-right personalities.
Mr Godlewski pleaded guilty more than a decade ago to corruption of a minor and was sentenced to three months under house arrest, according to the court documents. He faced several charges relating to an alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old high school girl when he was 25-years-old.
The evidence against Mr Godlewski includes explicit text messages between himself and the teen as well as a photo of his erect penis.
The texts include lines like "realized that you’re only 15, but quickly stopped caring," and "I’m 10 years older than you."
He also alluded to having a sexual relationship with the teenager in another message he sent after the girl’s grandfather died.
"I had no idea our Popa died," he wrote in the text message, which was included in the court filing. "I’m so sorry. I think we had sex in their bed though."
In other messages, he allegedly alluded to the teen performing oral sex on him and claimed he would only "ever be sexually satisfied if we [had sex] 4-5 times a day."
At the time, Mr Godlewski was working as a youth baseball coach and comforted the girl after her boyfriend died as a result of suicide. According to a sworn affidavit from the victim, Mr Godlewski and the girl began a sexual relationship a few months later.
Timothy M Kolman, told The Daily Beast that "any sexual relationship occurred when the couple were of age."
The revelation of Mr Godlewski’s alleged relationship with a minor comes at a time when conservatives have accused liberals of "grooming" children through school library books that contain depictions of sex and LGBT issues, as well as drag shows. Those claims do not meet the generally understood definitions of "grooming."
The Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, a group that works against anti-sexual violence, defines grooming as "manipulative behaviours that the abuser uses to gain access to a potential victim, coerce them to agree to abuse, and reduce the risk of being caught" that are generally aimed at young children and teens.
The Scranton-Times Tribune reported on the inappropriate relationship as part of a profile on the conspiracy theorist, which prompted him to sue the paper. That move caused his victim to come forward and admit she only stopped cooperating with investigators in 2010 after he threatened to kill himself.
The paper filed a motion claiming they caught the QAnon leader breaking courtroom rules and have demanded he pay $70,000 in legal fees and damages. Attorneys representing the outlet claimed Mr Godlewski failed to include those messages in their discovery requests, and instead received them from the victim.
The texts they received from the victim also included messages in which Mr Godlewski allegedly directed her to lie on the stand, suggesting they could both be benefit from a "financial windfall" if he won the suit.
"Not only did Phillip Godlewski commit a sex crime against a 15-year-old girl in 2009-2010, he has not solicited this same person to commit perjury in a Court proceeding so he can enrich himself," the paper’s attorneys wrote in the filing.