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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Co-Workers Accused|of Torturing Navajo

SANTA FE, N.M. (CN) - McDonald's employees kidnapped a co-worker, a mentally disabled young Navajo, and tortured and terrorized him for a night, burning a swastika into his arm with a hot coat hanger, the man's family claims in Santa Fe County Court.

Plaintiffs, including the victim Vincent Kee, his brother, his mother, and his guardian ad litem Paul Abrams, say that Vincent "has obvious child-level behaviors and diminished physical capacities."

They say that on the evening of April 29, 2010, "with multiple employees and managers on duty, three uniformed McDonald's employees named Paul Beebe, William Hatch and Jesse Sanford discussed, planned and kidnapped Mr. Kee from the McDonald's at 4750 E. Main St., Farmington, New Mexico. These three McDonald's employees were charged with state and federal crimes due to this incident."

The men tortured and abused Kee throughout the night and early morning, then dumped him on the streets, the complaint states.

Kee's guardians say that the men "Branded a swastika symbol onto Mr. Kee's arm with a heated coat hanger; Marked Mr. Kee's body with a permanent marker, drawing satanic, sexual, hate-filled images and degrading words over his body; Cut a swastika into Mr. Kee's hair; Filmed and photographed the torture of Mr. Kee; and Abandoned Mr. Kee in the streets of Farmington during the early morning hours to suffer the consequences of the torture alone."

The family claims that "some or all of the defendants ... employed other convicted felons besides Beebe, Hatch and Sanford at this Farmington McDonald's in April 2010, including a manager on duty during the evening of April 29, 2010 named Lucia Whittenberg. Beebe, Hatch Sanford and Whittenberg were all arrested for felony violations during 2010. At the time their employment with McDonald's began, Beebe, Hatch, Sanford and Whittenberg possessed criminal convictions and other troublesome experiences of a serious nature that would lead a reasonable employer to conclude that each was unfit for employment at McDonald's."

The guardians say "that at least six persons who were employees of this Farmington McDonald's during 2010 have been arrested and/or convicted of felonies and/or misdemeanors either before or during their employment, including kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping (multiple arrests), aggravate[d] battery (great bodily harm, conspiracy to cause bodily injury to a Native American, causing bodily injury to a Native American ... contributing to the delinquency of a minor, forgery, bringing contraband to a jail, tampering with evidence (multiple arrests), trafficking in methamphetamine ... conspiracy to commit larceny, criminal solicitation," and other drug crimes.

The complaint adds: "Every person who visited this McDonald's during 2010 was potentially in danger due to the employment of unfit employees. Upon information and belief, the danger to customers from unfit employees persists to the present. Defendants and the corporate defendants' officers and employees have deliberately or recklessly ignored the danger to customers from exposure to their unfit employees."

The family seeks punitive damages for negligence and other charges.

Named as defendants are McDonalds USA LLC, Farmington Hamburger Company, Jobec Inc., Andfam Limited Partnership, and McDonald's franchisees John Bronson and Celia Bronson.

The plaintiffs are represented by Ron Morgan of Albuquerque.

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