I did what I was told

I don’t recall ever hearing about this 2004 case, but USA Today reviews a new film, Compliance, just released:

The story described how [Louise] Ogborn, a high school senior and former Girl Scout, who had just turned 18 and hadn’t received a single admonition in four months at her job at McDonald’s, suddenly became a suspect when a man who called himself “Officer Scott” called and said an employee had been accused of stealing a purse from a customer.

The caller, using a combination of threats and flattery, persuaded [manager Donna] Summers to strip-search Ogborn in the restaurant’s office and take away her clothes and car keys.

The story — and movie — detail how Summers, on a busy Friday night, called in her fiance, Walter Nix, to watch Ogborn, and how at the caller’s request, he made her do jumping jacks to try to shake loose missing change, then spanked her and made her perform oral sex.

The scheme unraveled only after a handyman came in and refused to follow the caller’s orders.

“He is asking me to do things that aren’t right,” the maintenance man, named Harold in the movie, tells the manager.

In real life, Summers was fired and was placed on a year’s probation for unlawful imprisonment, while Nix was sentenced to five years for sodomy and other crimes.

The alleged caller, who police say made similar calls to more than 70 stores in 30 states, lost his prison job but was acquitted on charges of soliciting sodomy and impersonating a police officer.

The movie offers little explanation for why nearly everyone involved followed orders so slavishly, although in an interview with a TV reporter, the manager said, “I did what I was told.”

Funny how everyone gets named but the prison guard caller that started it. Ogborn and her lawyer aren’t pleased with the portrayal.

Her lawyer, Ann Oldfather, said she didn’t have time to watch it Friday. But she said watching a two-minute preview was “extremely upsetting.”

“I know what Louise went through, and to see it played out on the big screen for commercial exploitation is profoundly unsettling,” Oldfather said. “Louise, (McDonald’s Assistant Manager) Donna Summers and indeed all of the McDonald’s employees were manipulated once by this caller, and are now being exploited by a director who wants to make his name, and a movie company selling ‘entertainment.’ “

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