Paul Richford was a manager at a New Hampshire Burger King, but some of his employees thought he was a whole lot more — an undercover cop. Richford used his Burger King leverage to sexually molest three women working under his management for at least a year. In order to scare them from reporting him to Burger King, he told the women that he was a actually a police officer.
The former Burger King manager has been charged with three counts of false impersonation (as a police officer), one count of witness tampering, one count of obstructing the report of a crime, three counts of sexual assault, and six counts of simple assault, reported the local NBC affiliate. Sgt. David Keaveny — the officer who followed through on the oddball Burger King sexual assault case — noted the he was surprised by how long the abuse had gone on.
“Given the time it happened and that it happened in essentially a public place, and just over the amount of time over that it happened — it’s unusual. Usually someone comes in and says something and in this case, it takes one brave individual to come in and kind of open the door for us to investigate.”
Keeveney did, however, understand how authority — both as their Burger King manager and as a false police officer — was at play in keeping the young women silent about the unwanted sexual contact.
“Essentially in this case…by telling them that he was a police officer, and that he would possibly arrest them if they reported the crime, the person would not be able to report the crime.”
Despite the alleged crime of the Burger King manager, it’s definitely not the most bizarre fast food worker sexual assault case around. At Burger King’s competitor McDonald’s in Mount Washington, Kentucky, a teenage girl was deceived and molested for hours — eventually being spanked by her manager in an escalating series of events that kept her locked in the fast food restaurant’s back room for hours. An anonymous phone call received by the teenager’s manager accused the young woman of stealing and instructed her to carry out bizarre tasks on her superior and a maintenance man — culminating in sexual acts that make the Burger King case look mild.
Burger King’s incident isn’t quite as storied as the Kentucky McDonald’s unsettling telephone abuse tale. The latter incident spawned a Sundance-award winning film titled Compliance. Though the McDonald’s case has received the most prominent media attention, there have been several other cases of obscene phone callers being allowed to direct humiliating searches of employees at fast food restaurants before authorities were finally contacted.
How do you think this Burger King manager got away with sexual assault for so long?
[Image via Flickr]