IDIOCRACY: Stanford Prison Experiments In Fast Food


Caller: “Strip Search Her.” McDonalds Store Manager: “Sure Thing, Officer.”

By Andrew Wolfson
The Courier-Journal

She was a high school senior who had just turned 18 — a churchgoing former Girl Scout who hadn’t received a single admonition in her four months working at the McDonald’s in Mount Washington.

But when a man who called himself “Officer Scott” called the store on April 9, 2004, and said an employee had been accused of stealing a purse, Louise Ogborn became the suspect.

“He gave me a description of the girl, and Louise was the one who fit it to the T,” assistant manager Donna Jean Summers said.

Identifying himself as a police officer, the caller issued an ultimatum: Ogborn could be searched at the store or be arrested, taken to jail and searched there.

“I was bawling my eyes out and literally begging them to take me to the police station because I didn’t domcdonalds.jpg 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.”

Summers, 51, conceded later that she had never known Ogborn to do a thing dishonest. But she nonetheless led Ogborn to the restaurant’s small office, locked the door, and — following the caller’s instructions — ordered her to remove one item of clothing at a time, until she was naked.

“She was crying,” recalled Kim Dockery, 40, another assistant manager, who stood by watching. “A little young girl standing there naked wasn’t a pretty sight.”

Summers said later that “Officer Scott,” who stayed on the telephone, giving his orders, sounded authentic. He said he had “McDonald’s corporate” on the line, as well as the store manager, whom he mentioned by name. And she thought she could hear police radios in the background.

Summers shook each garment, placed it in a bag and took the bag away. “I did exactly what he said to do,” Summers said of her caller.

It was just after 5 p.m., and for Ogborn, hours of degradation and abuse were just beginning.


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