Believers in the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory are always on the hunt for the powerful pedophiles they imagine run the world—like the cabal of pedophiles they say controls the Democratic Party, or the one operating out of the imagined basement of a Washington pizzeria.
But now, new court records reveal that QAnon leader Phil Godlewski has a criminal past of his own involving an inappropriate relationship with a minor that police records suggest turned sexual.
Thanks to an ill-conceived defamation lawsuit against a local newspaper, Godlewski has put his conspiracy-theory career at risk by inadvertently prompting the release of more details regarding his case, including lurid text messages and a video of his erect penis.
Perhaps worse, according to his courtroom opponents, records suggest Godlewski has been caught both committing perjury himself and attempting to convince his own victim to do the same to ensure a “financial windfall” for them both.
Now, in a bombshell motion, the newspaper claims they’ve caught Godlewski breaking a bevy of courtroom rules and want him to pay $70,000 in legal fees and damages. As the case heats up and revelations spill out, it also offers a chance to see the kind of person who can profit from the persistent conspiracy theory.
QAnon has ruined families, inspired multiple gruesome murders, and helped power the Jan. 6 insurrection. But QAnon has also been a lucrative career for Godlewski, a Pennsylvania-based promoter of the conspiracy theory who speaks to his fans in lengthy, rambling livestream videos.
With more than 600,000 followers on the social media app Telegram and 156,000 subscribers on the alternative video platform Rumble, Godlewski profits from encouraging his fans to sign up for financial arrangements like a multilevel marketing scheme that sells silver. Earlier this year, Godlewski used his QAnon earnings to buy a $1.7 million house.
But Godlewski’s online critics have seized on his conviction, dating back more than a decade, for “corrupting a minor” to suggest he isn’t the upstanding QAnon believer he claims to be.
In 2008, nine years before QAnon began, a 25-year-old Godlewski worked as a high school baseball coach in a school district outside of Scranton. That’s where he met a 15-year-old female high school freshman referred to in court records as “B.D.”
The student’s boyfriend died by suicide soon after she met Godlewski, and the baseball coach comforted her. A few months later, with B.D. still 15 years old and Godlewski a decade her senior, they began a sexual relationship, according to police records and a sworn affidavit from Godlewski’s victim that was filed in court in November.
Godlewski showered his victim with gifts, according to police reports and a letter written by her parents filed into the defamation record, including a $2,800 pair of diamond earrings. He also lavished her with attention in the form of text messages that laid out details of their sex life, with more than 300 messages in one day alone, according to a police report. In one, Godlewski wrote that they would only “ever be sexually satisfied if we did it like 4-5 times a day.” In another, he allegedly wrote that the teenager “looked so good and [was] giving incredible head” while lamenting his own sexual performance.
Godlewski also allegedly provided B.D. with a log of his ongoing thoughts over several days, many of which centered on his struggles with their illegal age difference, according to police.
“Realized that you’re only 15, but quickly stopped caring,” one of the messages read.
“Why are we so compatible?” read another. “I’m 10 years older than you.”
In an email to The Daily Beast, Godlewski’s lawyer Timothy M. Kolman claimed that “any sexual relationship occurred when the couple were of age.”
In 2010, Godlewski was indicted on a raft of charges related to the alleged sexual relationship. In her recent affidavit, B.D. claims that Godlewski contacted her and begged her to recant her claims against him, threatening to kill himself if she didn’t.
In response, according to her affidavit, she stopped cooperating with law enforcement in the case. Godlewski ultimately pleaded guilty to a lesser count of “corruption of a minor,” receiving three months under house arrest.
A furious Godlewski sued the paper, assuring his followers that the reporter had “taken the bait.” In livestream videos, Godlewski insisted there was nothing to the investigation, claiming B.D.’s mother was behind the criminal case because she wanted his money and calling his victim a “conniving” schemer who faked the messages. He raised more than $26,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to pay for his lawsuit.
So far, though, the case has gone poorly for Godlewski. In late October, B.D. contacted the newspaper’s lawyers and offered to tell her side of the story in a sworn affidavit—one that was very different from the version put out by Godlewski, according to the paper’s attorneys.
In her telling, Godlewski and the woman had continued to carry on an occasional relationship after she became an adult—one documented through numerous text messages. For example, in a March 2021 text message, according to the defense attorneys, Godlewski texted the woman to express his condolences on her grandfather’s death—and alluded to their sexual relationship.
“I had no idea your Popa died,” Godlewski wrote in the text message, according to court filings. “I’m so sorry. I think we had sex in their bed though.”
“We’ve probably had sex in like 40% of the homes in northeastern Pennsylvania,” the woman responded, an apparent allusion to Godlewski’s alleged habit, when she was still underage, of using his second job as a real estate agent to access for-sale houses for their liaisons.
That same day, according to the paper’s lawyers, Godlewski sent the woman a picture of his “erect penis” and claimed it had “got bigger.”
Both those exchanges would contradict sworn statements Godlewski filled out as part of the lawsuit. Responding to interrogatories sent by the newspaper’s lawyers, Godlewski had insisted he had never had a sexual relationship with the woman, either when she was a teenager or as an adult. Godlewski had also never provided any text messages with the woman as part of discovery requests, claiming he didn’t have any.
“These text messages did not slip [Godlewski’s] mind,” the newspaper’s attorney wrote in a November motion. “He intentionally failed to disclose them in discovery for this lawsuit.”
In a Nov. 26 video for his fans, Godlewski admitted messaging the woman, saying he was also drunkenly flirting over text message with at least a dozen other women at the same time. Godlewski claimed his marriage fell apart after the Times-Tribune article. Seated in front of a woodcut model of the QAnon motto “Where we go one, we go all” in the video, he claimed he was so drunk during these flirting sessions, he would fall down intoxicated and urinate on himself.
“I was flirting with every girl that ever knew me,” Godlewski said. “Some of y’all watching may have been a part of that.”
In a statement, Godlewski’s lawyer claimed the woman’s damaging affidavit had a “troubling and coercive background.” He declined to offer specifics of the allegation to The Daily Beast. Lawyers for the Scranton Times-Tribune declined to comment.
Perhaps even more seriously, other text message exchanges between B.D. and Godlewski suggest that he wanted her to lie in his defamation case, according to the newspaper’s attorneys.
In May 2022, as the defamation case was ongoing, Godlewski contacted B.D. again. In the text messages, he alluded to a “financial windfall” that he couldn’t discuss in person that would require them both to work together. In another message, Godlewski clarified that he wasn’t talking about his precious metals multilevel marketing promotion.
“I think it might be fair to say that there is a very, very large, and very, very unique financial opportunity that exists in front of you,” Godlewski wrote, according to text message records entered into the court record.
In another message, Godlewski appeared to allude to the newspaper he was suing.
“I don’t trust those motherf---ers and I am literally foaming at the mouth to take them down once and for all,” Godlewski wrote, according to the court filings.
The newspaper’s lawyers say these messages are proof that Godlewski wanted his victim, now an adult, to perjure herself.
“Not only did Philip Godlewski commit a sex crime against a 15-year-old girl in 2009-2010, he has now solicited this same person to commit perjury in a Court proceeding so he can enrich himself,” the newspaper’s motion reads.