Abuse a Teenager, Win the Lottery

On April 9, 2004, Donna Summers, an assistant manager of a McDonald’s restaurant in Mt. Washington, Kentucky (not far from Louisville), answered a phone call and heard the voice of a man claiming to be a police officer.  He told Summers that one of her employees may have stolen a customer’s purse, and after hearing a description she called eighteen-year-old Louise Ogborn to the manager’s office to question her about the matter.  Ogborn denied stealing anything, but the voice on the phone pressed the matter, convincing Summers to demand that Ogborn first empty her pockets and then take off all of her clothes.  Shocked and scared, Louise Ogborn reluctantly complied with these demands, getting completely naked in the back office of a McDonald’s restaurant.  She would remain that way for around three hours, most of the time with nothing but an apron to cover her. 

As the voice on the phone kept pressing the matter, Summers decided that she had to get back to work.  It was a busy night for the restaurant, so she called her fiancee, Walter Nix (not a McDonald’s employee), to take the phone and keep an eye on the suspect.  Summers left a scared, naked teenager in her office alone with her own fiancee.  The security footage would later reveal what a terrible mistake that was.  On orders from the voice on the phone, Nix made Ogborn drop her apron and do numerous bizarre acts, like jumping jacks, supposedly to shake out any loose items from her body.  Whenever she questioned these bizarre demands, the voice on the phone ordered that she be bent over Nix’s knee and spanked.  Nix complied, hitting her over and over.  At some point, again following orders from the voice on the phone, Nix made Ogborn perform oral sex on him. 

Needless to say, the voice on the phone was no police officer.  The whole incident was a cruel hoax.  A man suspected of being the caller was arrested and charged, but he was acquitted.  To this point, justice has not been served in this case.

Both Donna Summers and Walter Nix were charged with crimes.  Summers served a year on probation, and Nix actually went to prison (whether he is still there or not, I do not know).  Louise Ogborn recently sued McDonald’s and won five million dollars just last week.  Her claim was that McDonald’s failed to warn its employees about these kinds of calls (a number of them had happened previously in fast food restaurants), thereby failing to protect its employees from this kind of abuse.  Apparently, the Bullitt County jury agreed that McDonald’s was culpable in this matter.

I was not on the jury, and I did not hear all of the evidence.  But from where I sit, blaming McDonald’s for this incident seems like a mistake.  McDonald’s has a policy against strip searching, and from what I understand, a mass email was sent out warning managers about these kinds of calls.  In our litigious society, we have almost come to the point where if anything bad happens at all, no matter how stupid, depraved, or immoral the person is who commits the crime, we believe that we also have to take to court those who “let it happen.”  McDonald’s was sued for a failure of imagination.  The corporation could not imagine that any manager would be so dumb as Donna Summers.  I think that is a reasonable assumption to make.  It’s kind of like the warning label on the McDonald’s coffee cups: “Warning: HOT.”  You know it is written not for the general public but for the 2% of people who are either (a) so dumb that they don’t realize that coffee is hot, or (b) so litigious that they will spill it on themselves and sue.  McDonald’s made a reasonable assumption that its strip-search policy, its email about the calls, and the I.Q. level of its managers would be enough to keep something like this from happening.  I think that was a reasonable assumption, but apparently the jury disagreed.  The fact that the incident happened in spite of the reasonableness of the assumption does not assign culpability to McDonald’s but rather to the individual involved in the incident.  But that matter is neither here nor there.

I am a good bit more upset over the fact that the jury also awarded Donna Summers a million dollars.  You read that correctly.  The manager who abused this teenager, who forced her to take off all of her clothes, who left her naked and alone with her own pervert fiancee, who was so incredibly gullible that it staggers one’s ability to conceive, has won the lottery.  McDonald’s must pay the woman who was convicted on criminal charges in this ordeal.  That is complete lunacy.  Had Donna Summers simply had enough common sense to hang up the phone and be done with the matter on that night, she would still be working in the fast food business.  But instead, her depraved gullibility has earned her the status of victimhood and made her a millionaire. 

While we’re at it, why don’t we sue the phone company for failing to foresee that this might happen and enabling it through the provision of phone service?  Why don’t we sue the doctor who delivered Walter Nix into the world (if he is still alive) for allowing a depraved pervert into human society?  Why don’t we sue whatever high school (likely a public school) that Donna Summers attended for failing to teach her the Bill of Rights, since she is obviously unaware of the fact that police officers do not have the authority to demand strip searches over the phone? 

Whenever juries award money to stupid people, it sends a message: our society sanctions stupidity.  We don’t expect anything more from assistant managers at McDonald’s.  The fact that Donna Summers fell for this hoax is okay by the standards of our society.  The real culprit is the evil, rich corporation that did not compensate for Donna Summers’s stupidity. 

To the jury of Bullitt County: is this the kind of society that you want?  Do you really want to say that this kind of depraved gullibility is a winning lottery ticket? 


13 Responses to “Abuse a Teenager, Win the Lottery”

  1. Kelly Felsted Says:

    I think the victim should sue the manager for $1.1 million. Now that would be justice!

  2. fenderpooh Says:

    Hey, there’s an idea! How about $2 million?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    That Donna Summers was clearly in the room whilst the girl was crying and begging for help (she had her head on her shoulder for pete’s sake!). She also believed this caller and she gets 1.1 million dollars??? She is just as guilty as the prank caller and failed to protect the girl. She should have 20 years in prison (if not given the chair like she really deserves) not 1.1 million dollars for actively allowing someone to be raped and beaten.

  4. Dumbfounded Says:

    I was telling this story to my boyfriend who couldn’t believe (as I would expect any sane person’s reaction to be) that anyone would follow orders like these, especially over the phone. I showed him the archived stories and then ran into this blog. I agree with most of what you wrote. However, I am glad Ogborn made money out of this…On the other hand, the manager definitely does not deserve anything at all. Your opinions are well put here and I couldn’t phrase them better. Hopefully Ogborn gets through lawschool and invests the money well. As far as everything else, I bet the majority of the residents do not know the Bill of Rights let alone anything else for that matter. Remember the Milgrim’s experiment…. how about Phillip Zimbardo’s Prison experiment. Nothing as changed.

  5. sarah Says:

    well written n spot on!

  6. jesse Says:

    Just saw the movie on netflix. Im absolutely shocked!! The whole thing is very disturbing. I think Donna Summers and David Stewarts home address should be known to everyone, even there cell numbers. They should never have a day of peace again! One is a complete idiot and the other a cold cruel SOB

  7. Anonymous Says:

    donna summers is a stupid bitch who needs to be shot in the head

  8. Vanessa Says:

    Let me guess you work for McDonalds…. She should get money. Fuck McDonald’s

  9. RP Says:

    Donna Summers acted stupid. She is just weak, overall.

    Think about this… If she HAD acted smart, and hung up right when he said “strip search” she’d probably be making whatever McDonald’s is paying the floor managers right now. Instead, she aids and abets a crime, acts stupid, fails to protect her subordinate’s interests and dignity… and she’s now a millionaire.

    If she did such a thing in Middle East… she’d be dead by now.

  10. Kim Says:

    I just saw the movie but I heard about the case a long time ago. Really disturbing. I agree that McDonald’s shouldn’t be held responsible, unless you want to hit them with hiring idiots for managers, then you might have a case against them. But I get why they got sued; while watching the movie I was thinking how I would sue everybody in sight if I were that girl. Then her lawyers talk her into suing McDonalds instead of the manager and she just wanted to make SOMEbody pay. But Donna Summers getting a million dollars is outrageous. Only in America can somebody get rich by being an idiot.

  11. Tommy Says:

    I pity american and those poor souls living there. What a bad precedent to pay someone a million dollars for strip searching a young innocent girl. Where are all those so called American child care, human rights and female right societies now ?

  12. Boulos Sorial Says:

    Elaborate on that guy aquitted

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