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Horrible Acts of Human Behavior
November 21, 2005 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Horrible acts of human behavior. Via: First Rule.
posted by SeizeTheDay (159 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
"He told me I was asking too many questions, so he was told to hit me," she said. "I just said, 'Please don't do this.'"

By the end, red welts could be seen on the woman's body.


In America, we don't torture people: that would be criminal. Policy is to just farm it out to private corporations. Then it just becomes a civil suit, if someone's lucky enough to get unbiased press. Less mess, especially with tort reform legislation.

I hope she takes McDonald's to the cleaners.
posted by Rothko at 11:35 AM on November 21, 2005


If it is this easy to get people to torture a woman in Mount Washington, Ky, why is anyone surprised when its easy to find people to torture other people in Iraq?

Its a cultural problem. We've come to trust authority so much, that even the voice of man who claims to be a police officer will be enough to inspire many of us to go way beyond the norms of human behavior.

The question is, of course, is this out of respect for the Police ("They must know what is right") or fear of them?
posted by anastasiav at 11:39 AM on November 21, 2005


Jesus Christ. Poor girl. I hope her case against Summers goes well. What she was thinking, I have no idea.
posted by nthdegx at 11:41 AM on November 21, 2005


Awful story - but tagged with the most fantastic combo platter of tags ever. I'm lovin' it.
posted by selfmedicating at 11:43 AM on November 21, 2005


Fucking hell. You don't even need a bunch of white coated scientists in the next room any more.

"I believe he picked fast food restaurants because he knew, once you got them away from that book, once it was something outside the manual or the procedures, they would be lost."

Lost. God, yes.
posted by maudlin at 11:44 AM on November 21, 2005


I doubt it's an American issue per se, it's just more proof of the Milgram Results:
Milgram's obedience experiment was replicated by other researchers. The experiments spanned a 25-year period from 1961 to 1985 and have been repeated in Australia, South Africa and in several European countries. In one study conducted in Germany, over 85% of the subjects administered a lethal electric shock to the learner.
Also, that sodomy charge—I'm glad they're hitting the man with all they can summon, but on the other hand, sodomy (aka oral sex) shouldn't be illegal in the first place.
posted by Firas at 11:44 AM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


Jinx!
posted by Firas at 11:45 AM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


so... with the correct application of fear and mystery it is possible to render human beings to nothing more than squirming animals, ready to bend over at your very whim.
posted by ginbiafra at 11:45 AM on November 21, 2005


I think the bigger cultural problem here is the apalling lack of common sense exhibited by almost everyone involved in this story.
posted by psmealey at 11:46 AM on November 21, 2005


Reminds me of the old B.F. Skinner psychological experiments -- only in those experiments, the McDonald's employees would be actors (in on the experiment) and the "officer" the unwitting subject.

/ On preview, um, double-Jinx!!
posted by LordSludge at 11:46 AM on November 21, 2005


This reminds me of the Milgram Experiment conducted at Yale wherein sixty percent of people would knowingly inflict pain on another human being simply because they were asked to by an authority figure.

Also, this has apparently been happening since 1995

on preview: dammit tripple jinx!
posted by splatta at 11:47 AM on November 21, 2005


I could have posted this to the jewel thief thread, but it goes just as well in here.

A friend's mother answered a knock on her door and ended up giving the smooth talking guy all her jewelry "for cleaning."

"Mom, how could you do that?"

"I think he hypnotized me."
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:48 AM on November 21, 2005


Hey, hey, gotta love that blind faith in authority. This is a good reminder that as my kids get older, I will teach them to question it. After all, there are never (or never should be, at least) repercussions for saying to a legitimate authority "I don't believe you are a legitimate authority, and I am not going to submit to this."

Case in point: if you are ever being pulled over, and you suspect that the person trying to pull you over is not an actual member of the police force (there have been many a case of people impersonating policemen and pulling women over, only to sexually assault them in their cars), drive slowly to the nearest police station and (if you have a cell phone) call the police to let them know what you're doing and why. Provided you go straight to the station, and especially if you make the phone call, you won't be adversely punished*.

*sadly, YMMV if you are a minority
posted by davejay at 11:49 AM on November 21, 2005


McDonald's training manual does include a section which cautions employees that "no legitimate law enforcement agency would ever ask you to conduct such a search."

But none of the employees "Primetime" spoke with at the Mount Washington, Ky., McDonald's say they ever recall seeing the warning.
If you need a Micky Ds training manual to tell you not to strip, spank, and sodomize a girl at the request of an anonymous call claiming to be a policeman, well, you're too stupid to breath.

This was not McDonalds fault.
posted by teece at 11:51 AM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


I have trouble feeling sympathy. Nowhere did it say that she tried to escape. Idiots.
posted by ackeber at 11:51 AM on November 21, 2005


uh.....hate to burst your bubble Firas, but Sodomy is NOT oral sex.......Try the other end!
posted by Yer-Ol-Pal at 11:53 AM on November 21, 2005


For fuck's sake, she was a tiny 16 year old girl raised to be polite and deferential to adults and authority figures. I'd like to think I'd have the presence of mind to bolt early, but I'm not blaming the girl that she didn't.
posted by maudlin at 11:54 AM on November 21, 2005


Yer-Ol-Pal, oral sex is classified as sodomy in many states. All "unnatural" sex = sodomy.
posted by maudlin at 11:54 AM on November 21, 2005


Just because some states don't know the difference doesn't change the defination.
posted by Yer-Ol-Pal at 11:56 AM on November 21, 2005


such gold: the most fantastic combo platter of tags ever. I'm lovin' it.
posted by shoepal at 11:56 AM on November 21, 2005


definition even
posted by Yer-Ol-Pal at 11:56 AM on November 21, 2005


This is really weird. I'm with ackeber here. How and why, again, did she willingly perform oral sex? Because someone told her to?

Weird.
posted by billysumday at 11:57 AM on November 21, 2005


Nowhere did it say that she tried to escape

"Ogborn says she wanted to run, but that it would have been too humiliating to run through the restaurant naked."
posted by anastasiav at 11:57 AM on November 21, 2005


Just sad.

And hard for me not to see this as some little political allegory. Bush and friends have it right, just keep on telling people how to think and be and enough people will acquiesce. Fucking pathetic, sad, demoralizing, and finally wicked.

On preview: billysumday, fear.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 11:59 AM on November 21, 2005


I have trouble believing that this is real. It has to be some kind of scam or hoax. Please - Please tell me people are not this stupid.
posted by batou_ at 12:00 PM on November 21, 2005


teece: The problem, more generally, is that these folks that are "too stupid to breathe" are often in positions of authority -- fast food managers, prison guards, cops, & judges. If you, as a subordinate, refuse to comply with their often ridiculous requests, you suffer the consequences, whether that's "right" or not.

/ has spent a night in jail for, as a pedestrian, declining to show my ID
posted by LordSludge at 12:02 PM on November 21, 2005


Ok... batou, people are not that stupid...and, if you believe that, you've just become the exception to the rule..
posted by HuronBob at 12:03 PM on November 21, 2005


Just because some states don't know the difference doesn't change the defination.

Yer jus' wrong, Old Pal

read the whole definition…
posted by Rawhide at 12:04 PM on November 21, 2005


RumCheeseburgers, Sodomy, and the Lash.

*robble-robble*

And this is why questioning authority is good. This is why being wary and distrustful of authority and power is good.

This is why anarchists and punks have been shrieking against the very concept of blind obedience and trust in authority for years, decades and centuries. It's not even about being able to buy beer when you're 16, or legalizing pot, or the "freedom" to have funny looking hair. It's about questioning your own compliant role in an abusive system of power and authority.

And if there's anything that history teaches over and over again it's that power and authority are always abused, sooner or later - if not from within, then from without.
posted by loquacious at 12:04 PM on November 21, 2005


I don't buy the fear thing. She is articulate, and sixteen. She's not retarded, and she's not a child. As fearful as she may have been, how do you get to the point where you are so frightened of people that you allow them to do whatever they want to you? There were multiple people coming in and out of the room, some of them disgusted by what the person on the other end of the phone was suggesting they do. Why didn't she ask those people for help? Why aren't they culpable as well?

Weird, weird, weird. Doesn't add up.
posted by billysumday at 12:06 PM on November 21, 2005


I think it's interesting that, according to the ABC article, the person suspected of making these calls was caught on video "wearing a uniform... that of CCA -- Corrections Corporation of America -- a private prison company that runs a jail in Panama City." CCA's operations in Kentucky have had their own problems.
posted by davy at 12:06 PM on November 21, 2005


What a horrible, horrible situation. That poor young woman.

27-year-old Jason Bradley should have called the real police after leaving the office in disgust. No sense in getting all up-in-arms about it and then doing nothing except extricate yourself from the situation.

As for all the others, a complete lack of common sense doesn't even begin to describe how completely idiotic they are/were.
posted by purephase at 12:06 PM on November 21, 2005


billysumday, I wouldn't be surprised if the assaulters' lawyers bring that up at some point, that she was just following their authority without questioning, in the same psychological situation the McD employees were just following authority, hence not guilty…
posted by Firas at 12:11 PM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


I suggest you read your dictionary Yer-Ol-Pal.

Ackeber, so it was the victim's fault?

By they way, haven't we seen this story on MeFi before?
posted by caddis at 12:12 PM on November 21, 2005


David Stewart was extradited to Kentucky and charged with solicitation of sodomy and impersonating a police officer and has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces up to 16 years in prison.

Once he's convicted, how does one go about letting every hardened con on his cell block know that this guy is a former screw? You know, to make sure maximum justice is served.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:18 PM on November 21, 2005


I think it's interesting that it was the maintenance man who called bullshit on this first. The lowest guy on the totem pole, who probably is even looked down upon by the pimply teenagers slinging burgers is the only one who had a hint of common sense.
posted by 2sheets at 12:19 PM on November 21, 2005


billysumday: Weird, weird, weird. Doesn't add up.

I agree. There's definitely a "doesn't add up" feeling to this story. I'm trying to check myself, saying 'Well, maybe people are just that stupid, and I'm an idealist nob who won't believe it", but really - this story. Wow.

So, moving horizontally along the story arc, what if we examine the origin of the story itself? Why is this story in the news today? What I find interesting is the trend of late in exploring the nature of social control.

You see it everywhere - in *this thread* you see allusions to B.F. Skinner, and other experimental techniques in the field. The most popular TV show, Lost, wreaks of the notion. So, somehow, it seems that the humans (or maybe just the Americans) are all of a sudden really into exploring the nature of human control. Why is that? Is it just a spin-off effect of the 'War on terror', and increasing decline of human rights? Are we trying to deal with the issues of being subordinated?

There is so much fodder for conspiracy theories in this comment ;) but it is kind of interesting. Is 'the media' alert to this recent trend that people want to examine the nature of human control? Anyway, sorry for the insanity.
posted by ginbiafra at 12:21 PM on November 21, 2005


Kingfisher:And hard for me not to see this as some little political allegory. Bush and friends have it right, just keep on telling people how to think and be and enough people will acquiesce. Fucking pathetic, sad, demoralizing, and finally wicked.


Absolutely Kingfisher. There's a correlative in the act of paying a small town kid jackshit to make you a fortune running your fucking fast food restaurant and paying that same kid jackshit a few years later to get shipped out to Iraq and slap the shit out of prisoners on leashes. Just do what your told, eat your plastic food and remember that Jesus® loves you. How can you not adore Hypercapitalism Freedom.
posted by Skygazer at 12:31 PM on November 21, 2005


I blame society.
posted by you just lost the game at 12:35 PM on November 21, 2005


It would also be interesting if it turned out that for part of this ordeal there was nobody on the other end of the phone -- that the manager thought of ordering this 18 year old girl to blow him all by himself. (Aren't managers supposed to have "initiative"?)
posted by davy at 12:35 PM on November 21, 2005


I don't buy the fear thing. She is articulate, and sixteen. She's not retarded, and she's not a child. As fearful as she may have been, how do you get to the point where you are so frightened of people that you allow them to do whatever they want to you?

Motive #1: Respect for authority figures. First she is accused of a crime by a trusted figure, her supervisor. Then, bit by bit, she submits to authority -- giving up her cell and wallet, then stripping. She had a chance to back out before she stripped, but given that she seems a decent kid, she may have thought that if she did this one thing, she could be cleared. Now, I was once a tiny teen who liked to please adults, but I also yelled and swore at a flasher on the street when I was 13, so I think I would have told my supervisor to fuck right off when she asked me to strip ... but then, those nice adults in the Milgram experiments didn't strip, but did cause apparent unbearable pain to another human being. People can behave in truly unexpected ways under duress.

Motive #2: Shame. Once she stripped, she gave up control, she may have felt she was less worthy of respect, and she lost the chance for an escape that would spare her a lot of public shame. Once somebody starts acting like a criminal or a victim, it's easier to control them and to lose respect for them, thus treating them even worse. (I am not excusing Nix at all. The man was not just criminally stupid, he's vermin.)

Motive #3: Even deeper shame and fear. Once Nix told her she would have to fellate him because the policeman said so, she may have learned that she was helpless. She may have thought this was a horrible bargain but one she had to take: better secret fellatio then the shame of running out naked into a crowded MacDonalds.

And, hello? Date rape? "Nice" girls get raped because they're afraid that screaming will just make other peple witnesses to their shame and humiliation.

I am not justifying or excusing her behaviour. No daughter of mine would ever be raised to be so accomodating. But many people would rather fill-in-the-blank than be shamed in public as a thief, liar, or sexual victim.

There were multiple people coming in and out of the room, some of them disgusted by what the person on the other end of the phone was suggesting they do. Why didn't she ask those people for help? Why aren't they culpable as well?

I don't know why she didn't ask. Maybe she was now thinking her predicament was now a matter of public gossip and she thought that huddling back and being a good girl would help. Stupid, but human. And yes, anyone who played along and didn't help that girl was entirely culpable in my book.
posted by maudlin at 12:37 PM on November 21, 2005


that the manager thought of ordering this 18 year old girl to blow him all by himself.

it was not the manager, but the assistant manager's fiance.
posted by Cool Alex at 12:40 PM on November 21, 2005


Its a cultural problem. We've come to trust authority so much, that even the voice of man who claims to be a police officer will be enough to inspire many of us to go way beyond the norms of human behavior.

It has nothing at all to do with 'culture' deference to authority is a universal 'feature' of humanity, The majority of people, regardless of what country they were from, would do this.

Why didn't she ask those people for help? Why aren't they culpable as well?

Weird, weird, weird. Doesn't add up.


I agree. There's definitely a "doesn't add up" feeling to this story. I'm trying to check myself, saying 'Well, maybe people are just that stupid, and I'm an idealist nob who won't believe it", but really - this story. Wow.

What do you mean 'it doesn't add up'? Are accusing the girl of being in on it? Do you have some actual formula that you're using, a linear equation where you ad various variables and get a deterministic result?

And how can something "feel" like it doesn’t add up? It either does or it doesn't.

Anyway, for everyone but the caller, this is normal human behavior. That's what all the research ever done shows, sorry.

(Although maybe the manager had an extra dose of stupid, having the girl suck his dick and everything. He should have eventually figured everything out, but it may be that he kept going because he enjoyed what was happening)
posted by delmoi at 12:43 PM on November 21, 2005


Nix, a 43-year-old exterminator, began following the caller's commands, ordering Ogborn to drop her apron, bend over and stand on a chair.

I've read the article a couple of times and watched the video, but one of the things I don't understand is: is it alleged that Nix was in cahoots with Reynolds, or was he just an opportunist pervert who hit the jackpot when he got called into the McDonalds this night?
posted by you just lost the game at 12:46 PM on November 21, 2005


So the guy is calling from a supermarket for 3 hours, pulls this stunt and somehow gets a kick out of that? Doubtful he was jerking off at the time.

Imagine his joy now he can see the poor* girl on video . From above. God-complex indeed.

*) and frankly, stupid girl ; how polite do you have to be to not ask your clothes back after they have been searched?
posted by beno at 12:47 PM on November 21, 2005


delmoi: Nix wasn't the manager, as pointed out above.
posted by you just lost the game at 12:47 PM on November 21, 2005


cool alex beat me to it. To wit:

Within fifteen minutes, Summers' fiancé, Walter Nix, entered the office where Ogborn tugged at the small apron that barely covered her top and exposed her legs up to her buttocks.

Again, Summers says she didn't question the caller and completely trusted her fiancé to be left alone with the girl.

Ogborn says she wanted to run, but that it would have been too humiliating to run through the restaurant naked.

Nix, a 43-year-old exterminator, began following the caller's commands, ordering Ogborn to drop her apron, bend over and stand on a chair.


That's even worse.

This whole story is past "News of the Weird" -- more like "Weird Tales".
posted by davy at 12:47 PM on November 21, 2005


billysum & biafra, if this is weird, why can't it add up? Do you believe this to be a hoax? Not likely with the video, the extensive manhunt, the people interviewed . . . are you suggesting the girl liked it and enjoyed it? What really are you getting at?
Her chance to protest was at the beginning, as she eventually ended up naked, confined to a smaller room with authority figures who were willing to do anything (e.g., spanking) because a voice on the phone told them to, she is very likely to be broken by fear and confusion. It's all very possible despite how weird it might be.
So again, where does this "it doesn't add up" lead?
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 12:50 PM on November 21, 2005


This is not normal human behavior. Sorry. No one I know would have acted like the assistant manager, her fiance, or the victim. The janitor, for instance, did not act, as you allege, "normally". How could both the janitor and the assistant manager have acted "normally" if they acted differently?

All the research ever done shows that you're being a bit ridiculous. Sorry.
posted by billysumday at 12:50 PM on November 21, 2005


A couple of decades ago there was a girl who was raped and murdered in public, with 30 people looking on. All of them just stood there, 'gobsmacked' as the british would say. But no one did anything. Why didn't they? Because they were human beings. In this case, the 'authority' was the 29 other people 'voting no' (when in fact, each one of them was stuck in a sort of negative feedback loop).
posted by delmoi at 12:51 PM on November 21, 2005


Y'know, I don't grant the people who followed the instructions of the caller in these stories the slightest mitigation of responsibility.
posted by nanojath at 12:51 PM on November 21, 2005


All the research ever done shows that you're being a bit ridiculous. Sorry.

What research is that? Do you have a refrence?
posted by delmoi at 12:52 PM on November 21, 2005


... man she was askng for it. Do you see the way they dress at McDonalds?... HAWT.

Anyway, thank you again Metafilter for something that would never have occured to my public/home scoooled American brain. I cannot wait to try to replicate this at my leisure. Much like the thread involving the Paris early morning Ferrari speed-run about a week ago. (By the way... that shit was fun.)
posted by hatchetjack at 12:56 PM on November 21, 2005


billysumday, perhaps you should read my tags and do some research before you assume that this isn't "normal" behavior.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 12:57 PM on November 21, 2005


It's the research I just did in my head. Also, do you have a "refrence" for "All the research ever done"? That's, like, God's library.

Look, I feel really sorry for this girl, but this is different than getting raped. She had opportunities to leave or to call for help, and she did not. I realize that she suffered traumatic emotional and psychological abuse. But don't you all think it's foolish to shout, "Look at how willing people are to go along with something they are told!!", yet you don't question the story itself at all? Watch the video again. To my (extremely untrained) eye, she does not appear distressed. She's clapping her hands and singing a song.

WEIRD.
posted by billysumday at 12:57 PM on November 21, 2005


"Normal" human behaviour != "admirable" human behaviour. "Normal" human behaviour covers a range of actions.

Anyone who wants to sit back and think that Zimbardo and Milgram just made this shit up, please, enjoy yourselves.
posted by maudlin at 12:58 PM on November 21, 2005


Er, and yeah. Like I said I do think the guy who asked for the blowjob (who was the manager's fiance) was probably enjoying himself. If he was really uncomfortable, he wouldn't have had an erection (I'm assuming he had one).

The actual manager, however, in initially doing the strip-search was not acting out of the ordinary, nor was the girl.
posted by delmoi at 12:58 PM on November 21, 2005


And also, how can everyone have acted normally, if they all acted differently? Still didn't get an answer on that one.
posted by billysumday at 12:59 PM on November 21, 2005


It's the research I just did in my head. Also, do you have a "refrence" for "All the research ever done"? That's, like, God's library.

People posted links to the research ofZimbardo and Milgram all over this thread.
posted by delmoi at 1:01 PM on November 21, 2005


delmoi, you mean Kitty Genovese, who was murdered.

And billysum, what is your conclusion? And because why, people you know wouldn't act like this? Because of research?

There's far more research that backs the way people will act under authority (note all the Milgram references) or how people won't act to stop something because other people are present, they become followers (Bystander Effect).

Are you playing detective here? Let us in on the twist.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 1:02 PM on November 21, 2005


are you saying acting normally means acting similarly? I guess the more pressing question is who acted illegally (lots of 'normal' behaviour is illegal).
posted by beno at 1:02 PM on November 21, 2005


here's the wikipedia article on the Bystander effect, which was researched after the Kitty Genovese murder.
posted by delmoi at 1:03 PM on November 21, 2005


kingfisher, why yes I do!
posted by delmoi at 1:04 PM on November 21, 2005


And also, how can everyone have acted normally, if they all acted differently? Still didn't get an answer on that one.

Seriously? You think normal is not a range of actions, a set of statistical liklihoods, and instead a single course of action? Take a psych class stet!
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 1:05 PM on November 21, 2005


Up until the creepy fiance gets involved, I'd still have to classify this as greatest phone prank ev-a!
posted by stifford at 1:05 PM on November 21, 2005


damnit, "stat" not "stet" -- typo ruined my miserable pun.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 1:06 PM on November 21, 2005


Billysumday does research in his head. Who needs data?
posted by caddis at 1:08 PM on November 21, 2005


Yes, I have solved the crime. I am talking to the networks right now to secure a deal.

All I'm saying is that there are inconsistencies in this story. Does that mean I'm playing detective? Or am I using the much bally-hooed "common sense" that we are all accusing this young girl and the assistant manager of not using?

I obviously doubt this is any sort of a hoax - for that to be true, the girl would have to be in on it, and what would be the point of that? Besides, people will be going to jail because of this. My bigger question is: how could this have happened? Had the girl been beaten at home, or sexually abused beforehand? How could she have performed oral sex on someone and then, after multiple other people had come into the room, alone, did she not ask them to please call the police or give her her clothes so that she could leave? I'm not saying that human psychology isn't fucked up. I'm saying that there are people who would not allow others to take advantage of them in this situation. What causes certain other people to acquiesce?
posted by billysumday at 1:09 PM on November 21, 2005


For those who claim that the behavior of the folks involved was completely abnormal or that the story sounds unbelievable, please note that according to the article, there had been more than 70 of these cases, dating back 10 years. In one of the cases, it was a customer who was strip searched. (Worth noting, because the restaurant management would have had less authority over a customer than an employee.)

The moral of the story is that a high percentage of the population is too stupid to breathe.

Okay, being less facetious, the moral of the story is that a high percentage of the population is willing to follow the orders of (perceived) authority, even when such orders are stupid, insane, or immoral. See the comment I just made in the Christmas truce thread for some perspective on how much worse it can get than strip-searching an employee.
posted by tdismukes at 1:10 PM on November 21, 2005


Seriously? You think normal is not a range of actions, a set of statistical liklihoods, and instead a single course of action? Take a psych class stet!
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat

Just for the record, you're saying it is "normal" to ask a 16-year old girl to give you oral sex because a stranger on the phone told you to? Why do I need a psych class to tell me that that is not normal?
posted by billysumday at 1:12 PM on November 21, 2005


Look, I feel really sorry for this girl, but this is different than getting raped. She had opportunities to leave or to call for help, and she did not.

So if this is "different" from getting raped, then this isn't rape according to you. So -- she's lying? Deluded? Or maybe she just really enjoyed it?

YES, she should have left the office as soon as possible. YES, she should have yelled or refused or run out once it got as far as the strip request. But lots of NORMAL young girls put up with sexual assault rather than be shamed in public. It's stupid but human.

billysumday, you seem to be defining "normal" as "correct or admirable". No fucking way is anyone here claiming that Nix and the others behaved admirably. But there are a variety of ways to define "normal" in psychology:

"One way of defining abnormality is statistical deviation. Most human characteristics are nicely distributed along a smooth bell-shaped curve. Those who stray too far from the average on this curve are then considered abnormal. This definition, however, has its problems. It does not recognize valuable derivations, such as genius, nor does it recognize common but maladaptive behavior like smoking and drinking 3. Nonetheless, this method is both objective and scientific."

The fact that this criminal got a lot of people at fast food places to play along is shameful and disgusting. But the fact that it happened so often, plus the weight of research cited here, shows that this type of behaviour is normal -- that is, common and expected -- human behaviour.
posted by maudlin at 1:13 PM on November 21, 2005


delmoi, FWIW, your facts aren't quite straight on the Kitty Genovese case. You've already got the Wikipedia link, but just to recap for everyone who won't bother clicking:

The people who could hear her (38 of them, by the way) were mostly inside an apartment complex; she was outside. They couldn't tell whether or not others were calling the police, but assumed someone had (if they recognized anything criminal was going on; most of them couldn't have).

It's far from the case you present, in which 30 bystanders form a ring around a girl being raped, and gawk at her and each other.
posted by booksandlibretti at 1:13 PM on November 21, 2005


billysumday, did you actually watch the entire story as it was presented on Primetime? The girl sobbed and begged and pleaded throughout the ordeal. She begged each person who came into the room to let her go, and insisted on her innocence. Primetime played extensive clips from the security video, and over the course of the hours she was held you can see the point where she just becomes...broken. She stops crying and pleading. She just becomes this acquiescent doll caught up in a horror that won't stop.

I'm going to assume you're making your idiotic statements based on lack of knowledge of the facts, rather than being a compassionless cretin.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 1:13 PM on November 21, 2005


No, I'm totally compassionless. And an idiot!
posted by billysumday at 1:15 PM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


You'd have to know how often he tried and compare that to the 70 cases to say anything about the general stupidity of the American population.

The fact that it elected and relected GW Bush however speaks volumes.
posted by beno at 1:15 PM on November 21, 2005


So she wasn't broken enough not to ask for help? Thank God (and damn to hell every single fucking person who could have helped her and didn't). I didn't see the show, either, which is why I'm so freshly angry about it.
posted by maudlin at 1:16 PM on November 21, 2005


Bingo, beno. 70 people went along with the ruse out of how many attempts? 100? 700? 7,000?
posted by billysumday at 1:16 PM on November 21, 2005


My bigger question is: how could this have happened? Had the girl been beaten at home, or sexually abused beforehand? How could she have performed oral sex on someone and then, after multiple other people had come into the room, alone, did she not ask them to please call the police or give her her clothes so that she could leave? I'm not saying that human psychology isn't fucked up. I'm saying that there are people who would not allow others to take advantage of them in this situation. What causes certain other people to acquiesce?

And the 'answer' is that the people who wouldn't allow this to happen are the strange ones.

Now to be fair, I do think intelligence can play a part in this. The girl said that she never believed the person on the phone was not a cop. If she had figured it out, then the person on the other end of the phone would have stopped being an Authority figure, and she would no longer feel compelled to do what he said. That's probably what happened with the Maintenance guy.

Also, remember that the caller had made dozens and dozens of these calls. So in a way, this girl just 'lost' the lottery.

Billy: You say that you're friends wouldn't do this, but let's change the situation. Suppose rather then a girl in a McDonalds your friends were Iraqis in Abu Gharib prison and these were US servicemen requesting them to do these things. Do you think you're friends would comply then? Why or Why not? How do you think your friends would behave if there was a legitimate authority ordering them to do something?

As long as the people believe in the authority, they'll mostly do what's told.
posted by delmoi at 1:18 PM on November 21, 2005


For those who claim that the behavior of the folks involved was completely abnormal or that the story sounds unbelievable, please note that according to the article, there had been more than 70 of these cases, dating back 10 years.

The articles mentions seventy cases of hoax phone calls, not that 70 people got duped/stripsearched.
posted by stifford at 1:20 PM on November 21, 2005


Google

Results 1 - 10 of about 885,000 for mcdonalds strip search.

Lots of people got strip searched, thats how the cop started his investigation. (yes we can all be detectives)
posted by beno at 1:24 PM on November 21, 2005


Oh and let's not forget this knowledge of how people act in response to authority is not just for analysis or creeps on the phone. People with power are sure to know far more that a few MeFites do, and moreover, how to apply it.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 1:25 PM on November 21, 2005


I don't agree that the behaviour of any of the participants in this sordid mess is necessarily implausible. But I'm finding it really upsetting that some fucking sickos found it that easy to get a normal 16-year-old, not to mention a grown woman, to follow such insane instructions without question. Going along with the initial strip search I can understand, because when a kid is in trouble, they don't want to make it any worse. But at some point, surely anyone would say, 'Whoa, this has gone too far.' Different people would obviously draw that line at different points - removing their underwear, maybe, or being told to jump up and down, or having some pervy asshole brough into the room. But the idea that any person, even at 16, would include oral sex in their list of 'things I am prepared to do on the alleged instructions of a vague, non-specific authority figure' is pretty mind-boggling.

For the sake of my faith in humanity, I'm going to have to hold on to the possibility that she went along with the whole thing somewhat cynically, with the expectation of suing McDonald's for millions.
posted by Soulfather at 1:25 PM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


She's 16. I doubt it.
posted by agregoli at 1:26 PM on November 21, 2005


Mostly, delmoi. But there is a difference in degree, here. At Abu Gharib, I would comply because I wouldn't have wanted to die. This girl complied simply because she didn't want to upset anyone.

I'm just as mad about this as the next person, but I don't believe that this scenario is normal. The evidence is in the fact that in those 70 cases, there was no sexual abuse performed. What is fascinating and weird about this case is the confluence of different people: the young, attractive girl who simply goes along with what is being asked of her, and the lecherous fiance, who was probably the only person in that McDonald's to have stepped inside that room and minutes later been asking the girl to perform oral sex. You've got to have willing participants in these situations, and the interesting thing about this case is that the timing and the characters all fell in place for this to happen.
posted by billysumday at 1:26 PM on November 21, 2005


The positive part is that with all this publicity, anyone who tries a similar phone-based control experiment is more likely to find the marks suspicious.

I was kind of blown away to see that ABC closed circuit footage of the assault; since posting about this case on Subcrawl several weeks ago, Louise+Ogborn+video has been one of the top search strings bringing people to the site, which I ascribed to pervy wishful thinking.

This whole case makes you wonder. She's too humiliated to run naked through McDonald's, but allows her (blurred-out) assault to be shown on national TV? Who determines that something like this can be shown publically, anyway? I assume it's evidence, but surely neither McD's, Nix, Stewesrt nor Miss Ogborn benefits from its circulation beyond the jury room.
posted by Scram at 1:26 PM on November 21, 2005


beno: of course those stories could all be about the same incident, although it's clear from some of the clippings that they happened in different places.

It's crazy that since this guy was arrested, all of this stopped.
posted by delmoi at 1:26 PM on November 21, 2005


I don't agree that the behaviour of any of the participants in this sordid mess is necessarily implausible. But I'm finding it really upsetting that some fucking sickos found it that easy to get a normal 16-year-old, not to mention a grown woman, to follow such insane instructions without question. Going along with the initial strip search I can understand, because when a kid is in trouble, they don't want to make it any worse. But at some point, surely anyone would say, 'Whoa, this has gone too far.' Different people would obviously draw that line at different points - removing their underwear, maybe, or being told to jump up and down, or having some pervy asshole brough into the room. But the idea that any person, even at 16, would include oral sex in their list of 'things I am prepared to do on the alleged instructions of a vague, non-specific authority figure' is pretty mind-boggling.

For the sake of my faith in humanity, I'm going to have to hold on to the possibility that she went along with the whole thing somewhat cynically, with the expectation of suing McDonald's for millions.
posted by Soulfather at 1:27 PM on November 21, 2005


I assume it's evidence, but surely neither McD's, Nix, Stewesrt nor Miss Ogborn benefits from its circulation beyond the jury room.

Unless they were paid.
posted by delmoi at 1:27 PM on November 21, 2005


You've got to have willing participants in these situations, ...

Somebody else define "willing" for this fuckwit. I'm going to get some tea.
posted by maudlin at 1:27 PM on November 21, 2005


(I forgot to italicize, but one guess who I'm quoting).
posted by maudlin at 1:28 PM on November 21, 2005


OMIGOD. So the fiance who asked the girl to give him oral sex was under judo-psycho-hypno mind control??

Give me a fucking break.
posted by billysumday at 1:29 PM on November 21, 2005


For the sake of my faith in humanity, I'm going to have to hold on to the possibility that she went along with the whole thing somewhat cynically, with the expectation of suing McDonald's for millions.

Well, supposedly the video (I haven't seen it since A) I'm at work, and B) I don't have a sound card) has her bawling and sobbing and whatnot. If it's cynicism I think she'd be in line for an Oscar, and she could still sue without felicitating someone.
posted by delmoi at 1:30 PM on November 21, 2005


Oops. No idea how that happened.
posted by Soulfather at 1:30 PM on November 21, 2005


those stories could all be about the same incident

I doubt this one incident was already heavility reported on before the cop started arresting people. He got a lot of hits on Google as well (but probably not as many) on that same query.
posted by beno at 1:32 PM on November 21, 2005


OMIGOD. So the fiance who asked the girl to give him oral sex was under judo-psycho-hypno mind control??

As I said, I don't believe that. My feeling is that the fiance probably enjoyed the situation and maybe believed that he wasn't doing anything illegal because of the orders over the phone.
posted by delmoi at 1:32 PM on November 21, 2005


The articles mentions seventy cases of hoax phone calls, not that 70 people got duped/stripsearched.

True. I'm hoping that in many of these cases the employees had more sense than in this situation. The article does list several cases where they apparently didn't, however. My point was that this wasn't a single isolated case. Also, I doubt the bozo responsible would have kept trying this stunt for 10 years if he only got the fish to bite once every few years.
posted by tdismukes at 1:33 PM on November 21, 2005


heavily
posted by beno at 1:33 PM on November 21, 2005


For the sake of my faith in humanity, I'm going to have to hold on to the possibility that she went along with the whole thing somewhat cynically, with the expectation of suing McDonald's for millions.

She's 16. I doubt it.
posted by agregoli at 1:34 PM on November 21, 2005


Lots of people got strip searched

Where does it say that? I'm not argueing whether that is true or not, I've only seen mention of 3 incidents of someone actually being strip-searched. Everything else has just refered to the calls (that I've seen so far...).
posted by stifford at 1:36 PM on November 21, 2005


I just watched the video again, the one that was linked in this post, and there is no audio on those videotapes. Most surveillance tapes don't have sound.
posted by billysumday at 1:36 PM on November 21, 2005


My feeling is that the fiance probably enjoyed the situation and maybe believed that he wasn't doing anything illegal because of the orders over the phone.

Exactly. There's always the sick bastard who goes above and beyond the call of duty in obeying evil orders because he enjoys it.
posted by tdismukes at 1:37 PM on November 21, 2005


The video shown on Primetime had no audio. I don't doubt that she was sobbing and hysterical, but the camera doesn't show it.
posted by Soulfather at 1:38 PM on November 21, 2005


tdismukes: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY!

He's not a sick bastard, he's "normal".
posted by billysumday at 1:38 PM on November 21, 2005


kingfisher and delmoi (essentially):
if this is weird, why can't it add up? Do you believe this to be a hoax? Not likely with the video, the extensive manhunt,

honestly, nothing i saw in the video remarkably suggested completion of truth. a hoax is a stretch, but the video and story are certainly engineered - at the very beginning of the story you see a 'cute' picture of the girl petting an animal - obviously engineered to evoke a human response. so my point is not that it is a hoax or even false, but that the information you are receiving is certainly engineered. this is not remarkable.

the people interviewed . . . are you suggesting the girl liked it and enjoyed it?

yeah, that's what i'm suggesting. geez. there's no doubt that the idea would cross any common person's mind, but that's just due to media precedent (the notion appearing in past events). hey, it crossed your mind ;) most people would almost immediately discount that, and so did i.

on the phone told them to, she is very likely to be broken by fear and confusion. It's all very possible despite how weird it

as i said, it is possible, and i keep trying to check myself with that notion. where it "doesn't add up" is the exclusive nature of the incident - the very fact that it is weird.

when i say it doesn't add up, i simply mean that what has been reported is not complete. the possibility of the event is not brought into question, but deeper research into the personalities and even, possibly, 'surrounding stories' of the involved, i think, could shed more light into the nature of the phenomenon. who are these people, and how they could be exploited in such a way?

so while the possibility of the event is not contended with (to the extent that there is an executed experimental model), it is still unclear what preconditions must exist for success.

was this exploiter *such* a convincing guy that he could get *four* people to do his bidding before being called out? out of a thousand attempts, how many times did he succeed? did the attacker have profiles of the attackees, and did he exploit these? and whenever he did succeed, what preconditions are similar? what can we learn?

how come the fiance let this kid give him a blowjob? ;)
posted by ginbiafra at 1:38 PM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


delmoi - out of interest, do you have a link to that story?

maudlin has it. It is completely, utterly unbelievable on the one hand, but when human psychology in all its glorious inconsistency is examined, I can certainly see how this would have played out in the minds of the manager and the girl.

But, to address the "There's NO WAY anyone I know would have acted like that" issue:

Interesting that the janitor guy didn't buy it and walked out. Interesting that the target was a McDonalds. Core staff in a place like that will, if the sick bastard caller is lucky, have already had months, if not years, in an authoritarian environment. They will have learned to switch automatically into by-the-book mode when they enter the workplace.

Janitors anywhere I know of are always the cynics. They aren't treated as part of the family. They are outside looking in, in a way. They exist, to a certain extent, out of mind and therefore out of authority. I reckon that's why, of all the people there, he was the one to call bullshit.
posted by paperpete at 1:42 PM on November 21, 2005


how come the fiance let this kid give him a blowjob? ;)

They never really said that much about the guy making the call(s). I thought possibly that the fiance went off on his own, like the caller was like "make sure she doesn't get away" and the fiance would be like "the officer said you should suck my dick...".
posted by stifford at 1:45 PM on November 21, 2005


joplin sonic incident. Gayman says he is fairly certain that David R. Stewart, 38, of Fountain, Fla., is the man who called the Sonic Drive-In at 1030 E. Seventh St. on May 26, posing as a local police officer conducting an investigation into a supposed theft of a customer's purse on the restaurant's premises.

arizona taco bell.In the Arizona case, the caller posing as a police officer remained on the phone to instruct the manager for each step of the examination of his young customer, which included a demoralizing cavity search, says Sheriff Joseph Arpaio of Marciopa County.

utah mcdonaldsThe Salt Lake Tribune recently reported that a teenage girl had filed a lawsuit in US District Court against McDonalds Corp. and its franchise in Roosevelt, Utah. On her 18th birthday in May of 2002, the young lady had just started her first job at the McDonalds restaurant. An anonymous person phoned in a false tip that she had stolen a little girl's coin purse. Posing as a McDonalds district manager, the tipster ordered two managers of the restaurant, one male and one female, to search her for the purse.

hardee's in north dakota She said Mathis entered the office, got on the phone and later shut the door. He had her empty her pockets, then told her to begin disrobing. At one point, she testified, she tried to leave, but Mathis — who was seated in front of the door — grabbed her arm and told her she had to stay.
posted by lescour at 1:46 PM on November 21, 2005


How in the world did the consensus here become that the Ogborn gave the fiance oral sex?

All the article said was that Nix told her to bend over and stand on the chair and that he is being charged with sodomy.

So what most likely happened was that he penetrated her anus (and/or possibly vagina) with his finger, under the rubric of a "cavity search". The article provides nothing that would indicate oral sex happened, and that idea is actually more insulting to the girl, since "body cavity" searches do exist, and might be somewhat logical to a low IQ person trying to make sense of a confusing situation, but a demand for oral sex just doesn't make any sense outside of pure sexual victimization.
posted by dgaicun at 1:49 PM on November 21, 2005


"Ogborn says that after more than three hours of dehumanizing treatment, Nix -- again on the instructions of the caller -- forced Ogborn to perform a sexual act."
posted by Firas at 1:53 PM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


I just watched the video again, the one that was linked in this post, and there is no audio on those videotapes. Most surveillance tapes don't have sound.

In the series of clips I saw, sound was not necessary to see that the girl was distraught, crying, and making supplicatory gestures.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 1:53 PM on November 21, 2005


dgaicun: That would make much more sense to me, as well. However, it does say that the girl was forced to perform a "sexual act" by Nix.
posted by billysumday at 1:54 PM on November 21, 2005


i think the suggestion of oral sex is perpetrated by the moment in the video that the narrator indicates sexual felony. the girl, if i recall correctly, is on her knees facing the man sitting on a chair. i agree with you that 'blowjob' cannot be determined from the source - i also found the 'sodomy' legalese curious.
posted by ginbiafra at 1:54 PM on November 21, 2005


From the ABC article: "Ogborn says that after more than three hours of dehumanizing treatment, Nix -- again on the instructions of the caller -- forced Ogborn to perform a sexual act. "
posted by maudlin at 1:54 PM on November 21, 2005


Two observations:

1. Large corporations like McDonalds have invested tens of millions of dollars in psychological research to create work environments, screening programs, and training regimens designed to produce compliant, obedient workers. It does not surprise me at all that something like this would happen in a place like that.

2. The suspect was arrested in summer of 2004. The crime occurred sometime before then. Would this story ever have made it on to ABC News -- since it's not actually "news" at this point -- if there wasn't titillating surveillance video footage of the crime?
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:54 PM on November 21, 2005


So what most likely happened was that he penetrated her anus (and/or possibly vagina) with his finger, under the rubric of a "cavity search". The article provides nothing that would indicate oral sex happened, and that idea is actually more insulting to the girl, since "body cavity" searches do exist, and might be somewhat logical to a low IQ person trying to make sense of a confusing situation, but a demand for oral sex just doesn't make any sense outside of pure sexual victimization.

That's a good point. That would fall under the brain-dead 'sodomy' rules in most places.
posted by delmoi at 1:56 PM on November 21, 2005


Artifice_Eternity: ABC is clearly playing the sleaze card.
posted by Firas at 1:57 PM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


Having her bend over on a chair while he rummages around in her plumbing, is forcing her to perform a sexual act.
posted by dgaicun at 1:59 PM on November 21, 2005


courier journal article 10/9/2005"I was bawling my eyes out and literally begging them to take me to the police station because I didn't do anything wrong," Ogborn said later in a deposition. She had taken the $6.35-an-hour position after her mother lost her job. "I couldn't steal -- I'm too honest. I stole a pencil one time from a teacher and I gave it back." [sic]

Louise Ogborn had been in the back office for nearly 2½ hours when the caller said she should kneel on the brick floor in front of Nix and unbuckle his pants.Ogborn cried and begged Nix to stop, she recounted in her deposition. "I said, `No! I didn't do anything wrong. This is ridiculous."

But she said Nix told her he would hit her if she didn't sodomize him, so she did.
posted by lescour at 2:00 PM on November 21, 2005


I've watched the Primetime segment twice now, and the part about the other cases the detective found says that by spring of 2004, there had been 70 such cases resulting in strip searches and in some incidents sexual abuse. Are the people here saying that the 70 other cases didn't lead to strip searching/abuse just not seen the video segment?

Anyway, someone wondered how many stores he had to call to get one that would do it:

Phone records show he sometimes called up to 10 stores before finding a gullible (and heartless) manager willing to obey his commands.- source

To be that still seems like a low number of attempts before success. You'd think more managers would think it was odd for a cop to call and make requests like that. I remember hearing about one of these at a Wendy's some time back, and thought how stupid that manager had to have been. I'm pretty appalled that there were 70 other places out there run by people just as dense.

Also, in reference to the sodomy:

Nix has said the man on the phone ordered him to direct Ogborn to do exercises in the nude and perform oral sex on him. He said he also slapped her several times on the buttocks at the direction of the caller. - source
posted by Orb at 2:00 PM on November 21, 2005


Well, the ex-fiancé can console himself in jail with the fact that he has got one hell of a letter to Penthouse.
posted by cusack at 2:01 PM on November 21, 2005


Louise Ogborn had been in the back office for nearly 2½ hours when the caller said she should kneel on the brick floor in front of Nix and unbuckle his pants.Ogborn cried and begged Nix to stop, she recounted in her deposition. "I said, `No! I didn't do anything wrong. This is ridiculous."

But she said Nix told her he would hit her if she didn't sodomize him, so she did.


I hope that removes any doubts that this was a forced sexual assault.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:03 PM on November 21, 2005


Ok, Jesus Christ, I just don't get it then.
posted by dgaicun at 2:04 PM on November 21, 2005


I hope that removes any doubts that this was a forced sexual assault.

I never questioned this.
posted by dgaicun at 2:04 PM on November 21, 2005


Nix was vermin who was in the right place at the right time.
posted by maudlin at 2:05 PM on November 21, 2005


I hope that removes any doubts that this was a forced sexual assault.

Who doubted that?

Good link, lescour. Sheds a better and more filling light on the incident.
posted by billysumday at 2:09 PM on November 21, 2005


I think there are a lot more men who are willing to do this than people realize, and a lot more women who have been affected by this than people realize. It sickens me and disgusts me but it's true -- lots of guys are willing to fuck up someone's life in order to get off, if they think they can get away with it.
posted by speicus at 2:09 PM on November 21, 2005


lescour: Ogborn cried and begged Nix to stop, she recounted in her deposition. "I said, `No! I didn't do anything wrong. This is ridiculous."

great recount- so we can essentially remove the victim from not only the 'rape didn't happenl' category, but also the 'stupid' category, but rather place her in the 'assumption of self weakness' category.

orb: Nix has said the man on the phone ordered him to direct Ogborn to do exercises in the nude and perform oral sex on him. He said he also slapped her several times on the buttocks at the direction of the caller.

yeah, this guy's role in the event is so strange. it's like, this guy walked into the situation, saw (and recognized) what was going on, and decided it was showtime for him. that becomes more believable.
posted by ginbiafra at 2:12 PM on November 21, 2005


Perhaps we need to better educate people in the public school system that it is not within police rights to demand quickies, blowjobs, tickle fights, kidneys, improvised dance performances or yardwork at their homes. Trunk searches are one thing, but maybe this area of rights, in particular, isn't being stressed quite clearly enough.
posted by dgaicun at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2005


after watching this (and making note of the voyeuristically perverse way abc exploited this girl on video) my first reaction was ' oh come on!' 'i can't believe this girl is going along with this'. and also 'wtf !' but after reading maudlin's comments above and trying to put myself in the young ladies position (no pun intended) i find my self thinking about how something like this could happen to any innocent young child. shame on all those who harmed this child.
posted by nola at 2:22 PM on November 21, 2005


I don't understand how anyone could possibly think it's okay to strip search an employee, let alone any of the rest of it. Is this an American thing?
posted by The Monkey at 2:22 PM on November 21, 2005


and also shame on abc for the way in which they reported this story. i think telling us what happened will suffice , we don't need to be made party after the fact to this young lady's abuse.
posted by nola at 2:26 PM on November 21, 2005


For crying out loud dgaicun, penetration is rape, whether by finger or other appendage. Mr. Nix could be looking at some serious time here. In any event, it went beyond what you describe.

Whatever happened here, it is not this girl's fault. Too many people here want to blame her. Sure some girls who are more sure of themselves might never have submitted to this degradation, but the fact that she did in no way makes this her fault.
posted by caddis at 2:48 PM on November 21, 2005


It's sad that she thought she HAD to remove her clothing. like dgaicun wrote- she obviously was completely unaware of her rights as an american citizen- rights so proudly waved to other countries to claim superiority. i guess the system is working- its easier to take away peoples rights if they don't even know what they fucking are.

this whole event is sickening and makes me never want to have children ever because there is just so much evil everywhere.
posted by ackeber at 2:48 PM on November 21, 2005


ackeber: this whole event is sickening and makes me never want to have children ever because there is just so much evil everywhere.

wow. so the implications go further, to the extent that the exploiter's actions even cause human populations to decrease. amazing! ;)
posted by ginbiafra at 3:00 PM on November 21, 2005


I keep thinking about this and the "social engineering" attacks used to gather passwords and other sensitive information. The missing information here is not the background of the individuals or what was said in that room, but what was said, when, and how, on the phone.

There's no doubt that the resulting situation was dreadful, sad, and, yes, billysum, horribly abnormal, but the actions of the people in that situation aren't as absurd and unlikely as some would have it. A lot depends on how that call was played -- what we know (he posed as a cop and "had the manager on the other line", that he had a background in corrections) means he was playing the authority role very well (external and internal figures) and with some expertise. But I wonder what he said and how he said it.

Did the set of people on the phone ever protest or question his actions? How did he respond? The Nix portion of the call is the most interesting. I agree with the proposition that Nix was a lecherous creep who ended up in a situation he wanted, but did the "cop" play the friendly role, reassuring Nix that the sexual act and his desire was all normal, and this happens in policing all the time, etc. (and therefore reassuring him with conformity).

I am not excusing the behavior of these fools at all -- they should have known immediately that all this was way out of bounds. But I am fascinated in how it can be made to happen, how ready people are to be manipulated, and how ready they are to cow to authority.

I rambled. All I wanted to say is that we really never did discuss the social engineering (or con) skills of the caller.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 3:21 PM on November 21, 2005


I hope that removes any doubts that this was a forced sexual assault.

For crying out loud dgaicun, penetration is rape, whether by finger or other appendage

This has nothing to do with the part of my comment that I think some people are seriously misinterpreting. What I said was that I can understand how someone might think that a cavity search was something with a practical, nonsexual purpose, and OK for the law to demand, but I couldn't understand how someone could think that oral sex had a practical, nonsexual purpose and was OK for the law to demand. This is why I found my non-oral sex interpretation more likely given the information provided in the ABC article (and obviously people have provided sources since that comment showing that oral sex did indeed happen).

Not only is your comment annoying because I didn't say what you're saying I said, but its pernicious because I explicitly said exactly what you think you're "telling" me:

"Having her bend over on a chair while he rummages around in her plumbing, is forcing her to perform a sexual act."
posted by dgaicun at 3:29 PM on November 21, 2005


And obviously, if Nix really thought the police were demanding rape (and had the right to demand it), this doesn't absolve him anymore than if I thought the speed limit was 65 instead of 25. Ignorance of the law isn't considered a legitimate excuse past the age of accountability.
posted by dgaicun at 3:38 PM on November 21, 2005


I'm with caddis in that some commenters here seem to believe that it was in some way her fault that it went that far. First I'd like to say that there are many kids out there that are taught to "obey authority" and that not doing so is a wrong action. They aren't taught to question it, and I think this comes from parents who don't know themselves that not all authority should be obeyed without question ... either they don't know how often it is abused or they wouldn't dream of questioning someone in a position of power over them no matter the outcome. Obeying authority figures ... managers, teachers, police, etc. ... is, in general, a good idea. It is also a good idea to know when to question what is going on. I was lucky in that my parents told me to do as I was told by those in power over me, but to also listen to my gut if things started to feel like it wasn't right. From what I can tell by reading any watching reports on this, she knew this wasn't right and was asking that it be stopped, but the people in power weren't listening to her. They chose to listen to the voice on the phone.

Also, it isn't like this is some stranger doing this to her. It all started with the manager that she has worked with and who she would have trusted not to harm her and to do the right thing. That manager would have told her a hundred things a day to do such as clean the counters, take out the trash, and so on, and she would have had no reason to believe that this woman would intentionally cause her harm. It's her boss. She is supposed to listen to and do what her boss tells her to do. By the time others were called in, she would have already been demoralized and panicky ... and willing to do anything she had to to get out of the situation. In another article (can't find the link again), the girl said she was afraid to run out because she didn't know what was out there, if the cops really did want her, then maybe the cops would be out there and it would be worse. We live in a society where you read and here in the news almost daily that it's perfectly OK for the CIA to water board people who may or may not be guilty of terrorism, so it isn't a far stretch to imagine that a young person in this position might be afraid to rock the boat too much for fear of what might happen then. It's the adults here that didn't do what they should have and realize that they were far overstepping the bounds of their authority.

In the video segment, I couldn't believe it took the maintenance guy telling the manager lady that he wasn't going to take away the apron to look at her naked for her to wake up and realize something was going on. After all, she was the one who took her clothes away and would have had to have seen her naked herself. Why was it OK for her to do it, but not for the men? Doesn't make sense that it took that for her to snap to the fact that this wasn't right.
posted by Orb at 3:41 PM on November 21, 2005


many kids out there that are taught to "obey authority"
To the point of giving BJs? Don't be any more ridiculous than you have to.
posted by Joeforking at 3:52 PM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


I have to say, I didn't believe this story at first. Then again, I didn't believe the story on the radio this morning about how apparently 1 in 3 of people believe rape victims are somehow to blame, yet reading some of the comments in this thread that no longer seems implausible either. All tremendously sad. I hope those responsible rot.
posted by chill at 4:00 PM on November 21, 2005


Joeforking, she had been progressively demoralized, humiliated and assaulted for 3 hours. She had begged for help and release and didn't get it. he threatened to hit her if she didn't do it. Yeah, someone can be forced to give a blow job under those circumstances. She gave up her wallet, her cell phone, then her clothes because of her deference to authorty. She would up being sexually assaulted because of that initial willingness to obey a trusted authority figure, the fiancée of the man who assaulted her.

Read the fucking quotes further up the thread. Read the fucking links. Jesus.
posted by maudlin at 4:14 PM on November 21, 2005


By the way, since Milgram has been mentioned several times in this thread, I thought I would share a quote I just came regarding across regarding the Milgram experiment by Hilzoy over at Obsidian Wings:

"My take on this has always been that the reason some of these people delivered all the shocks was not that they didn't see the moral problem, or had e.g. hitherto untapped veins of sadism, or that they actually believed that obeying the experimenter's orders was more important than not seriously harming another person; but just that when confronted with a situation in which they did not want to deliver the shocks and also did not want to disobey the experimenter to his face, they didn't try to figure out which reason was more important, but instead sort of froze, unable to make any decision at all. And since they were already in the experiment, absent a decision to leave it, they kept doing what they were doing."

That seems just about exactly right to me. It rings true with my experience of people.
posted by tdismukes at 4:51 PM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


billysumday, I hear what you're saying, those people didn't act like they had a brain in their heads. Unfortunately you're wrong, stupid people are the normal ones.

If old Vonnegut won't do it, consider that most Americans believe Saddam nuked the WTC on 9/11 so now we have to invade Iran and make them pesky Filipinos sorry they messed with the Ewe Ess Ay.

I had to quit asking "Are people really THAT stupid?" because I got tired of learning repeatedly what a stupid question that was.
posted by davy at 5:09 PM on November 21, 2005


What I said was that I can understand how someone might think that a cavity search was something with a practical, nonsexual purpose, and OK for the law to demand, but I couldn't understand how someone could think that oral sex had a practical, nonsexual purpose and was OK for the law to demand. This is why I found my non-oral sex interpretation more likely given the information provided in the ABC article (and obviously people have provided sources since that comment showing that oral sex did indeed happen).

I'm pretty aghast at how long it's taking a lot of people to think that, gee, maybe this guy is a rapist. there are a few of them out there, i hear.

authority is a disease.
posted by poweredbybeard at 5:53 PM on November 21, 2005


I cannot believe that some of you do not think the fiance was in on it...... If I were to be called to my fiance's work, and found her naked in a small room with someone claiming to be a cop on the phone I would be SOME PISSED.
First, honey put your clothes back on.
Second, get that ass hat of a manager in here.
Third, get the ass hole on the other end of the phone to come show me his badge, so I can have him thrown off the force.

Please do not tell me that the fiance was not in on the whole thing.
Sick.
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 6:13 PM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


Please tell me that you know how to read.

The teenager was the victim. She has no fiancé.

The assistant manager, a middle aged woman, was the one who was engaged to Nix. The manager was not the one stripped naked in the office.
posted by maudlin at 6:18 PM on November 21, 2005


[Quote from me followed by] I'm pretty aghast at how long it's taking a lot of people to think that, gee, maybe this guy is a rapist.

Ok, once again, I've apparently been used as the poster boy for the 'He's not a rapist and this wasn't rape' position - even though I have expressed the opposite opinion since the start. This is getting really fucking annoying, folks.
posted by dgaicun at 6:24 PM on November 21, 2005


Once again, my exact statement: "Having her bend over on a chair while he rummages around in her plumbing, is forcing her to perform a sexual act."

Next time I will remember to always interpret "sodomy" and "forced sexual act" as blowjob and nothing but blowjob, lest packs of witch-burning fuckwits descend on the creeping crypto-patriarchy.
posted by dgaicun at 6:29 PM on November 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


OMFG. I hope this is a fake. It makes me want to puke.

How can anybody not see that she was assaulted? For Christ-sake the sox I am wearing right now are older than this poor girl. This girl was a child. Certainly not too bright. But, still, a CHILD! 16 years old.

There is no room for doubt. She cannot in any way be held responsible for what happened. Anybody over 18 in there that told her to take her clothes off - for any reason - should see jail time.

She WAS sexually assaulted. And every McDonalds employee who knew what was going on and did not go in there an stop it was an accessory to sexual assault on a minor. There is no excuse. Mistaken authority or no.

If that were my daughter and nobody went to jail I swear there would be some seriously fucked-up MickyD managers limping around that town. Sickening.
posted by tkchrist at 6:36 PM on November 21, 2005


What really pisses me off about this is that the assistant manager, a middle aged woman, an actual adult with minors in her charge for fuck sake, could pluck up one of her employees on no more information than "a little girl in a McDonald's uniform" and agree with a disembodied voice on a phone that the kid was a crime suspect, and deserved to be humiliated in any fashion. Can a person be criminally gullible? Maybe her own black heart leapt at the chance to flex a little authority? God, for her pathetic lack of judgement alone, I hope she serves time.
posted by maryh at 7:18 PM on November 21, 2005


Wow. If this were my kid I'd probably be starting on 20 to life right now. Or have it done. Although I'm guessing, Mount Washington, Ky, probably not a big LCN hangout, right?

"Suspended sentence! They went free that very day! I stood in the courtroom like a fool. And those two bastards, they smiled at me. Then I said to my wife, for justice, we must go to Don Corleone."

I am curious though what sort of response would a miligram type experiment get from actual criminals.

We've had various types of responses, from disgust that a girl would 'let' this happen, to blaming society, to some anti-authority. I've seen few that just blow the rules of society off and say "I'd kill (or have killed) this fucker."
Not that I'm condemning that at all. No one wants 10,000 Charles Bronson's out there. I had a chance to take part in an experiment similar to this in high school (where I learned about miligram) and - whether due to my contrarian nature, huge testicles, or simple dumb luck, I split from the program. It was nowhere near the sophisication or pressure, etc, of the electroshock experiment, but I wanted no part of it. Also I wanted to cut class to make out with my girlfriend who had a study hall at that time. So, I just flipped the class the bird and split when my psych teacher wasn't looking. (Yeah, Saturday detention for Smed, not my first).

So are then criminals and malcontents right on this point? What then does it say about society?
I mean Gacy, Gein, they only killed a few hundred at most. Goverments kill by the millions.

"Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery is torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself." - O'Brien, 1984.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:27 PM on November 21, 2005


*reaches for phone*
posted by quonsar at 10:51 PM on November 21, 2005


metafuckers.

it was rape. quit blaming the 16 year old female. the fiance who got the blowjob was a creep who bought into the exploitaiton of power.

it's easy to feel smug and certain will sitting safely behind your keyboard.

many of you will submit to authority - protesting and weeping, but submitting just the same - if you are ever put into a situation where you feel powerless.

i know from experience that people - all kinds of good, normal, intelligent people - will be passive suporters of abuse and violation. and many will even be active participants in the abuse.

i don't say this from the perspective of victim, but rather, as one - out of many - who actually stood up and said "no" to a situation that was totally unacceptable. i was considered freaky and weird for doing so, my personal life was questioned, and my safety was threatened.

i know how hard it is to say "this is wrong."

i know how evil "good, normal people" can be.

anyone who does not understand this is, at best, sheltered. and at worst, one of the oppressors.
posted by lapolla at 2:34 AM on November 22, 2005


Oh, how they teach kids to obey authority! I know, because I was never any good at the obedience bit.

When I was 12, I was falsely accused by a group of kids. The school principal decided I'd be bent over his desk for a paddling. I decided he was full of shit, and ran.

I ran straight home. Next thing you know, the phone rings and I had a court date. Because I refused to submit to authority, I was locked up and the court became involved in my life.

It is nice to read a story like this, as it only serves to prove, nearly 4 decades latter, I am still right and was right all along. I am my own and sole authority.

(the whole situation with that principal was very weird, and I still think there may have been some hanky panky going on in his mind and intentions)
posted by Goofyy at 4:00 AM on November 22, 2005 [1 favorite]


fyi: ms. ogborn was 18, not 16, at the time of the assault.
posted by lescour at 6:17 AM on November 22, 2005


I read all this a week ago, arsewipe
posted by Joeforking at 6:27 AM on November 22, 2005


lescour: yeah, I was wondering why everyone kept saying she was 16.
posted by Stauf at 6:33 AM on November 22, 2005


Ok, once again, I've apparently been used as the poster boy for the 'He's not a rapist and this wasn't rape' position - even though I have expressed the opposite opinion since the start. This is getting really fucking annoying, folks.

truly sorry, dgaicun, i was blinded with rage and you were the first thing i saw.
posted by poweredbybeard at 3:15 PM on November 22, 2005


American society is made up of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Nix's and Summer's. People that are either borderline retarded, or sadistic, or a terrible combination of both.

The fact that legions of people as stupid or evil as these two can vote should scare the fuck out of everyone reading this thread. People just like this do your dry cleaning, prepare your food, do your taxes, take care of your kids at preschool, and more. We are truly, truly, surrounded by a sea, an ocean, of stupidity.

If the psych experiments show that 60% of people will torture another human just because a stranger "with authority" tells them to, all that means is that 60% of people are fucking stupid morons who do not deserve a place in society.

The girl was obviously not bright enough to know her basic civil liberties, but she most certainly is the victim in this story.

Sometimes people do dumb things to hurt themselves. They become victims. Sometimes people do dumb things to hurt others. They become defendants.

I would honestly propose execution for Nix and Summers, not because of the heinousness of their crimes, but just because they are either too stupid or too heartless to live amongst us.

Fucking idiots. Whatever they get is too good for them.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:33 PM on November 23, 2005 [1 favorite]


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