The ex-wife of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle said the sandwich chain knew about his exploitation of children way ahead of his 2015 arrest, according to newly released court documents.
Attorneys for Katie McLaughlin filed a lawsuit against Subway on her behalf in Hamilton Superior Court in Noblesville, Indiana on Oct. 24, claiming Subway executives turned a blind eye to Fogle’s pedophile behavior in order to protects its brand and revenue.
The lawsuit cited three separate instances where Fogle displayed sexual interest in children, beginning as early as 2004.
In 2004, an unnamed Senior Vice President of Marketing received a tip that Fogle had solicited sex from a minor during a promotional event at a Las Vegas Subway restaurant. A Senior Public Relations Manager asked Fogle about the claims, which he denied and the investigation was ultimately closed.
Four years later Cindy Mills, a Florida franchisee, contacted then-CEO Jeff Moody and recalled a disturbing conversation she had with Fogle, where he said: “he really liked them young.”
Moody allegedly told Mills that he had heard similar complaints against Fogle but to not worry, because he is in a relationship with a teacher, who “will keep him grounded.” The lawsuit claimed the teacher is McLaughlin. In addition to Moody, Mills also told two other Subway executives and an investigation was opened. When confronted with the claims, Fogle denied the allegations and the case was closed.
Fogle’s ex-wife Katie McLaughlin here to talk about Subway lawsuit. pic.twitter.com/z017AJf10Q
— Madeline Buckley (@Mabuckley88) October 24, 2016
In 2011, journalist Rochelle Herrnan-Walrond, who had gotten to know Fogle, wrote a complaint to Subway in which she said she didn’t feel comfortable with children being around Fogle. Herrnan-Walrond said in the court documents that Subway told her later that year the complaint was “not properly escalated or acted upon.”
All of the complaints were filed during Fogle’s tenure as a spokesman for the company, which began in 1999. Fogle, a 425-pound freshman at Indiana University dined on Subway sandwiches, resulting in a 235 pounds weight loss. Since then he appeared in over 300 commercials for the brand.
“Subway failed every test of corporate responsibility in its response to each of these complaints,” read the complaint.”Driven by sales rather than the safety of kids, Subway sent its then Senior Public Relations Manager to ask Jared and the franchisee owner, rather than the victim, about the incident.”
The complaint continued, “Other than sending a public relations employee to ask the wrongdoer about the incident, Subway did nothing more in relation to this event or to otherwise more fully investigate the allegations.”
The lawsuit also alleged that Subway continued to put children at risk with its campaigns—”Jared’s School Tour” and “Tour de Pants”—where Fogle would make appearances in elementary schools across the nation. McLaughlin also said that Subway’s usage of her and their children in a commercial to paint Fogle as a family man was misrepresentative, considering that the child sex abuse allegations were well-known. McLaughlin stated that she didn’t give consent to use her likeness or their children’s likeness in the 2015 advertisement.
“Jared was so inextricably linked that Subway exploited his family despite knowing of allegations that Jared was a pedophile and failing to properly investigate those allegations.”
The FBI raided McLaughlin and Fogle’s marital home on July 7, 2015, and a month later Subway terminated its relationship with him.
We no longer have a relationship with Jared and have no further comment.
— SUBWAY® (@SUBWAY) August 18, 2015
In November of last year, Fogle pleaded guilty to distributing and possessing child pornography and commercial sex acts with a minor. Fogle is currently serving 15 years in federal prison in Colorado.
McLaughlin is requesting an unspecified amount in damages.