Ex-wife of Jared Fogle sues Subway after ‘devastating’ discovery

Katie McLaughlin
Katie McLaughlin, former wife of former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle, makes a statement on legal action filed on her behalf as attorney Mike Antrim looks on during a press conference in Noblesville, Ind., Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH/WOOD) —  The ex-wife of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle is suing Subway.

According to court documents filed for the civil lawsuit, Katie McLaughlin says Subway knew of Fogle’s actions and failed to act as a responsible corporation should.

Before discussing the case in a Monday news conference,  McLaughlin talked about Fogle’s victims.

“First let me say, to the victims of my ex-husband, you are never far from my thoughts and prayers. I can only imagine what you have been going through. A mother’s most basic instinct is to protect her children and this is one of the most horrific of crimes. I know the healing process is lifelong.

“Finding out that your husband and the father of your children is a child predator, and knowing that his job involved him visiting schools on a regular basis, is devastating.”

McLaughlin then continued on with her reasoning for the  lawsuit against the fast food chain.

“I filed this lawsuit because I have questions. Questions that someday my children will ask me and that I imagine the families of the 14 victims are asking. Questions to which I have no other way to get answers. Questions like what did Subway know and when did they know it? What investigations, if any, did they conduct? Did they ever notify the authorities?

“I also filed this lawsuit because I am seeking damages from Subway. As the complaint alleges, there have been news reports that Subway received at least one complaint that Jared had sexual interest in children. Subway even took the step of marketing him as a family man and used my children’s and my likenesses in that campaign. I did not give them the consent to do this.”

McLaughlin alleges that on at least three occasions, Subway received reports about Fogle’s sexual interest and activity with children. Court documents state that with two of those reports, Subway sent a public relations employee to ask Fogle about the allegations. For the third report, Subway said the complaint was “not properly escalated or acted upon.” Court documents state Subway did not report any of the allegations to law enforcement.

Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle leaves the Federal Courthouse in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 following a hearing on child-pornography charges.
Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle leaves the Federal Courthouse in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 following a hearing on child-pornography charges.

In 2004, court documents stated the Senior Vice President of Marketing at that time received a complaint that Fogle approached a young girl at an event in Las Vegas for a sex act. Subway then sent its senior public relations manager at that time to ask Fogle and the franchise owner about the complaint, not the victim. Subway did nothing else to fully investigate the allegations.

That same year, Subway launched the national marketing campaign, “Jared’s School Tour.” It was a childhood obesity prevention initiative which required him to visit elementary schools all over the United States, including Indiana.

In 2008, Subway kicked off its “Tour de Pants” campaign, sending Fogle to elementary schools around the country.  That same year, court documents state a former Florida Subway franchisee, Cindy Mills, notified Jeff Moody, then CEO, that Fogle made disturbing comments about children. The comments she claims Fogle said include:

  • He really liked them young.
  • Fogle had sex with minors from age nine to 16.
  • Fogle suggested Mills prostitute herself.

Court documents state that Moody interrupted Mills and said, “Please don’t tell me any more. Don’t worry, he has met someone. She is a teacher and he seems to love her very much, and we think she will keep him grounded.”

Mills mentioned he had dealt with similar complaints in the past.

This was the second time Subway failed to investigate and report this type of complaint, court documents state.

Investigators enter home of Jared Fogle on Tuesday July 7 in Zionsville Indiana. (WISH Photo/Nina Criscuolo)
Investigators enter home of Jared Fogle on Tuesday July 7 in Zionsville Indiana. (WISH Photo/Nina Criscuolo)

In 2008, Mills also reported Fogle’s comments to at least two more Subway executives at a NASCAR event. According to court documents, Mills said she was scared she would see Fogle in person at the race. Executives assured her Fogle wouldn’t be at the race.

In 2009, McLaughlin and Fogle got engaged, and in 2010 they got married.

In 2011, Florida journalist, Rochelle Herman-Walrond, made a complaint on Subway’s website that she was concerned to have Fogle around children. Herman-Walrond publicly announced Fogle made comments to her about his desire to perform sexual acts with children. Court documents state Fogle asked Herman-Walrond’s help in getting him access to children. Herman-Walrond worked with the FBI to record conversations she had with Fogle.

In January 2015, Subway and Fogle signed a two-year contract extension, which included “Jared’s Journey” campaign portraying Fogle as a family man began airing.

>>PHOTOS: Raid at Jared Fogle’s home

On July 7, 2015, FBI raided Fogle’s home and Subway suspended its relationship with Fogle. This was the last day that the commercial aired for “Jared’s Journey.” Almost a month later Subway ended its relationship with Fogle.

The next day, Aug. 19, Fogle was charged with possessing and distributing child pornography and commercial sex acts with a minor; Fogle pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison.

On Nov. 19, McLaughlin and Fogle’s divorce was finalized.

McLaughlin is suing Subway on five charges, which include:

  • Invasion of privacy.  McLaughlin says Subway ran a national commercial promoting Fogle as a family man with her and their two children despite knowledge of his sexual interest in children and without his family’s consent.
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress. McLaughlin says Subway’s conduct intentionally or recklessly caused severe emotional distress to her and her children.
  • Negligence. McLaughlin says Subway was notified on multiple occasions of Fogle’s sexual interest in children and alleged criminal activity and ignored and/or failed to report the allegations.
  • Negligence per se. McLaughlin said had Subway reported the allegations, she would have never married Fogle and her family would never have been exploited by Subway as part of the “family man” campaign.
  • Right of Publicity. McLaughlin said Subway utilized her and her children’s rights of publicity without written consent, and they have suffered damages because of it.

When our Media General sister station WISH reached out to Subway for a response to the lawsuit, the company said it could not comment on pending legal actions.

The original version of this story was posted on wishtv.com.