NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – The ex-wife of former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle is suing the restaurant chain for damages, saying the company received at least three reports indicating his sexual interest in children but failed to take proper action and continued promoting him as its spokesman.
Katie McLaughlin said at a news conference Monday that she filed the lawsuit in Hamilton County Superior Court because she has questions about Subway’s actions and inactions wants to someday have answers for her two children, who are now 3 and 5 years old.
“Questions like: What did Subway know? When did they know it? What investigations did they conduct? Did they ever notify the authorities?” said McLaughlin, who said she was “shocked” to learn the accusations against her husband, the earlier of which came in 2004, according to the lawsuit.
Subway issued a statement saying it could not comment on pending legal action.
The lawsuit filed Monday, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges Subway allowed Fogle to spend significant time in elementary schools promoting the chain after learning of allegations against him.
“Finding out your husband and the father of your children is a child predator and knowing that his job involved visiting schools on a regular basis is devastating,” said McLaughlin, whose divorce from Fogle was finalized days before he was sentenced last year to spend more than 15 years in prison.
Fogle pleaded guilty to one count each of distributing and receiving child porn and travelling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a child. That came four months after FBI agents raided his suburban Indianapolis home in an investigation that ended Fogle’s lucrative endorsement career with Subway, which started after he lost more than 200 pounds in college, partly by eating Subway sandwiches.
McLaughlin’s attorney, Mike Antrim, said he will recommend what damages she should request only after learning the extent of what Subway knew. The lawsuit alleges McLaughlin and her children sustained injury, pain and suffering because Subway failed to act properly.
McLaughlin said Subway touted Fogle as a “family man” even after it knew about the allegations against him and “used my children and my likeness in that campaign. I did not give them consent to do so.”
The lawsuit contends Subway knew as early as 2004 that Fogle had approached a young girl for a sex act at an event for Subway in Las Vegas. The lawsuit contends Subway sent a senior public relations manager to talk to Fogle and the franchisee about the allegation but never talked to the girl.
The lawsuit alleges Subway either failed to have protocols in place to address and investigate such allegations or failed to follow those protocols.
The lawsuit also alleges that another franchisee in Florida in 2007 told Subway’s chief executive officer that Fogle had sex with minors from 9 years old to 16 years old. The lawsuit said Subway again sent a public relations manager to ask Fogle about the allegation.
The lawsuit said a Florida journalist in 2011 notified Subway about concerns of Fogle being around children and, “Subway admitted that complaint was ‘not properly escalated or acted upon.”‘
The lawsuit alleges Subway “failed every test of responsible corporate behaviour” and had moral and legal obligations to alert the authorities about Fogle but instead continued to use Fogle family “as a marketing tool.”