BK Employee Sexually Assaulted Co-Workers, Told Them He Was a Cop

Illustration for article titled BK Employee Sexually Assaulted Co-Workers, Told Them He Was a Cop

In a story that's fucked up in about four different directions at once, a Portsmouth, a New Hampshire Burger King employee has been charged with sexually assaulting three co-workers and then telling them he was a cop to get them to keep quiet about it. Wait, it gets worse.

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Described by a co-worker as "a sketchy guy who clearly liked the young girls" (let's all pause for our collective horrified shudder), 27-year-old Paul Richford has been charged with sexually assaulting three of his fellow employees "repeatedly"* between early July and early September of this year. Apparently, two of the co-workers were minors; given that Richford was a shift leader at the time of the assaults, it's unsurprising he was able to keep them quiet. Richford apparently assured that silence by pretending to be a police officer using fake uniforms, ID cards, and a firearm. Yesterday he was in court, where he pled not guilty to three counts of impersonating a police officer, one count of witness tampering, one count of obstruction, three counts of sexual assault and six counts of simple assault.

Now, you might be asking yourself: is there any way this story can get worse? You're in luck!** One of the employees actually did report the assaults to a manager "a couple of weeks ago." Their response was to immediately hold Richford accountable for his actions, by which I mean they transferred him to another location and did absolutely nothing to punish him at all. So yeah. That happened.

The only reason he's been arrested and charged now is that the same victim ultimately did go to the police. What does that say about our collective (justified) lack of trust in the police that his bullshit even worked for a while, and appears to have completely worked on two of the victims? To be fair, this is an instance where the cops actually did their jobs, so kudos to them there, but how sad is it that the fact they did their jobs is legitimately noteworthy?

As if all of this wasn't horrifying enough (and it is), there was another completely unrelated instance of sexual assault at the exact same Burger King a few months prior (the skeezebag in question Victor Ortega, has also been charged). I'd say "what are the odds," but considering the staggering amount of sexual assault that goes on in America, coupled with the fact that the food industry sees way more sexual harassment and assault compared to other industries, the odds are better than a lot of people might think — which is actually part of the problem.

Just remember that for every case like this where it looks like a human wad of drain clingings might actually face justice, there are thousands we never hear about. But sure, rape culture isn't a thing. Right.

* The specific charge a police officer mentions in the video is "forced fondling." Gahhhhhhhhh.

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** No.

Image via Mark van Scyoc/Shutterstock.

DISCUSSION

labellota
acorn

Ugh, this is horrible. I live in MA, but we get news for NH all the time and this is just horrible. The police genuinely do seem to be taking it seriously, thank god. Weirdly, in the first reports I heard a day or so ago, they said he turned himself in. How does turning yourself in and then pleading not guilty work, I wonder?

Anyway, yeah, I feel for these young girls. How scary. Very predatory behavior because they were likely in shock and didn't know what to do. My very first summer job as a teen I only worked one day and then made my mom call and quit for me because I was so scared of the pervy owner. It was an ice-cream shop and he spent the whole afternoon sitting behind the counter watching us work. He made several inappropriate comments about my butt and then even managed to put his hand on my lower back, dangerously close to my bum, while "sidling" behind me to get past. It was terrible and I really had no idea how to react. Then he had the audacity to try to shame my mother for "allowing me to shirk my responsibility" and "baby me" by not making me quit for myself. He got a major ear-full about why I wasn't doing it myself.