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Prostitute Blames McDonald's for Driving Her to Prostitution

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

A former prostitute and ex-McDonald's employee claims her stint at the Golden Arches led to an unseemly life of sex trafficking. Now she's filed a lawsuit -- and it's a whopper.

Shelley Lynn of Pismo Beach, Calif., claims McDonald's failed to institute an employee grievance policy, failed to properly supervise her boss Keith Handley, and failed to conduct "due diligence" in allowing a person like Handley to become a franchise owner, Courthouse News Service reports.

Those alleged failures allowed Handley's conduct to get out of hand, Lynn's lawsuit asserts: He allegedly forced Lynn to become a prostitute -- and that's not all.

The ex-prostitute's 37-page McDonald's lawsuit delves into the sordid details of Shelley Lynn's tumultuous romance with her ex-boss Keith Handley, who hired her as a McDonald's counter clerk in 1982. The pair began dating in 1985.

After Lynn shared her dream of becoming a Las Vegas showgirl, Handley bought her a house there and forced her to become a prostitute in 1986, Lynn claims. As a call girl at a Vegas brothel, Lynn was at times made to have sex with as many as 12 men a night, and was subject to abuse.

Lynn and Handley married in 1988. But Handley continued to threaten Lynn with financial ruin if she quit her job as a prostitute, she says. The couple eventually divorced.

Lynn's legal claims boil down like this:

  • Six allegations against Handley, accusing him of sex trafficking, conspiring to obstruct justice, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud in allegedly falsely promising to sell his franchises and move to Las Vegas.
  • One allegation against McDonald's, of negligent retention and supervision of an employee, namely Handley.

In Lynn's negligence case against McDonald's, she will likely have to prove her injuries -- being forced into prostitution -- were reasonably foreseeable consequences of McDonald's alleged failures. A jury may find that to be a stretch.

Lynn's lawsuit further describes Handley's alleged desire for a sex-change operation, and Handley's alleged love affair with a man whom he called "the love of his life." She also complains about McDonald's allegedly low wages and inferior health care plan.

It's not clear how those details play into ex-prostitute Shelley Lynn's McDonald's lawsuit. Neither Handley nor the fast-food company could be reached for comment, according to news reports.

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