This article contains discussions of sexual assault.
Don’t Pick Up The Phone takes a close look at a series of scam calls that plagued the United States throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Although the prime suspect in this case, David Stewart, ultimately escaped punishment, others involved in the case were not so lucky. One of these men was Walter Nix, who was featured extensively in the three-part series.
According to Netflix’s True Crime show, each case would follow the same modus operandi. First, the suspect would call a restaurant, usually a fast food restaurant, and pretend to be a police officer. He would ask to speak to a manager and then tell him that an employee had been suspected of stealing something. The suspect then ordered the director to take the “suspect” to the director’s office where the appellant asked the director to strip search the “suspect”. The caller kept asking for more and more sexual actions against the victim until the call ended.
Walter Nix Jr. was sentenced to 5 years in prison
Although Walter Nix Jr. was not the suspect making the calls, he would face consequences for following the caller’s orders. In his case, which occurred at a McDonald’s in Mount Washington, Kentucky, a man calling himself “Officer Scott” called the establishment. As in previous cases featured in the true crime documentary, the man on the phone informed manager Donna Summers that the victim was responsible for a robbery. He ordered Summers to detain the victim in a back office and conduct a strip search. He also asked Summers to call her fiancé, Walter Nix Jr., to help.
When Nix arrived, the caller asked Summers to hand him the phone. For the next few hours, the caller instructed Nix to continue to sexually assault the victim in various ways under the guise of “checking her for stolen items.” For his role in the crime, Nix would face criminal charges. Specifically, he was charged with buggery and sexual assault. Despite his claims that he was “just following orders”, from a police officer he believed to be, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison. He also had to register as a sex offender upon his release.
What happened to the victim of Walter Nix
As mentioned in the true crime documentary, Walter Nix Jr.’s victim, Louise Ogborn, was just 18 at the time of the assault. Unsurprisingly, after the incident, she never returned to work. She also spoke of the intense mental trauma she suffered as a result of the incident, describing years of depression, anxiety and insomnia. Ogborn would later file a lawsuit against McDonald’s, alleging that the restaurant chain failed to notify its staff at the Mount Washington site of the prank calls, despite them being an ongoing problem.
Although Ogborn claimed $200 million in her trial over the ordeal that Netflix documentary Don’t Pick Up the Phone, she ultimately only received $6.1 million, $5 million in damages punitive damages and $1.1 million in compensatory damages. McDonald’s would appeal those findings and the judge would ultimately rule in favor of the company, getting rid of punitive damages and leaving Ogborn with just $1.1 million in compensatory damages (via Daily Mail).