The following story shows just how obedient people can still be when they think they are "just following orders" given by an authority figure. This case operates as a modern version of the Milgram Shock Experiments at Yale and the Stanford University Prison Experiments, both of which went a long way toward explaining how it is that brutal regimes get people to simply go along, and how those people can be so casually complicit in abuse of fellow human beings just because an "official" tells them to do it, and also how such functionaries even come to enjoy their work.
An Extra Shift Led to a Terrifying Strip Search, But the Suspect Was Set Free
Nov. 30, 2006 — - It was the shocking story -- and unbelievable surveillance video -- that riveted the nation. A young McDonald's employee humiliated, forced to strip and then to perform a sexual act in the back office, during her work day.
This horrifying ordeal changed one woman's life forever, and put one man on trial, accused of masterminding a bizarre and elaborate hoax. If convicted, David Stewart faced 15 years in prison on charges ranging from solicitation of sodomy, to impersonating a police officer.
Louise Ogborn was always willing to take on extra shifts at McDonald's in Mount Washington, Ky. Ogborn's mother had health problems and had recently lost her job, so the 18-year-old did whatever she could to help make ends meet.
On April 9, 2004, Ogborn offered to work through the restaurant's evening rush, trying to be helpful and make a few extra dollars.
"I was just going to eat and then clock back in and help until somebody else came along that could help," she said.
But Ogborn couldn't have known that her noble gesture would turn into a terrifying ordeal that she says will haunt her for the rest of her life.
A Startling Accusation
Ogborn was called into assistant manager Donna Summers' cramped office and told that Summers was on the telephone with a police officer.
"She said, 'Here she is. This is the girl you described,'" said Ogborn. "She told me to shut the door."
Summers told Ogborn that the officer on the phone had their store manager on the other line and that he had described her and accused her of stealing a purse from a customer.
"I was like, 'Donna, I've never done anything wrong,'" Ogborn said. "I could never steal -- I could never do anything like that. I don't have it in me."
But inside the back office, which had now become an "interrogation room," Ogborn's protests fell on deaf ears.
"She said, 'Well, they said it was a little girl that looked like you in a McDonald's uniform, so it had to be you.'"
It was Ogborn's word against the accusation of a man claiming to be a cop, and she was given a choice: submit to a search or be escorted to the police station.
Listening to 'the Voice'
Ogborn was told to empty her pockets and surrender her car keys and cell phone, which she did. Then the caller demanded that Summers have Ogborn remove her clothes -- even her underwear -- leaving her with just a small, dirty apron to cover her naked body.
Summers says she never second-guessed what she was being asked to do, as she firmly believed the person she was talking to was a police officer. Ogborn says she trusted her manager to do what was right.
Because it was a busy Friday night, Summers had to leave the office to check on the restaurant. The man on the phone demanded that another employee be left to watch Ogborn until the police arrived and Summers chose 27-year-old Jason Bradley.
"He [Bradley] takes the phone and they're telling him to have me do certain things and drop the apron," she said. "He wouldn't have any part of it."
Bradley walked out in disgust, leaving Summers with no one to watch Ogborn. Then the caller made an odd request, asking Summers to call her fiancé to have him watch the girl.
Summers says she did as she was told.
"I honestly thought he was a police officer and what I was doing was the right thing," Summers said. "I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing." ....