Subway is investigating claims that the company was knew about Jared Fogle’s alleged sexual interest in children six years ago.
Fogle, the brand’s spokesman for 15 years, was charged last week with possessing and distributing child pornography and travelling across state lines to have sex with minors. He plans to plead guilty to the crimes and pay $US1.4 million in restitution to 14 victims.
Subway cut ties with Fogle last month following an FBI raid on his Zionsville, Indiana home.
Two people now allege, however, that the company knew about Fogle’s sexual interest in children as early as 2009.
A franchisee told us she informed Subway of untoward behaviour by Fogle. And a former journalists says she notified Subway.
“When we first heard about an alleged complaint being made to the company about Jared Fogle, we immediately investigated and found no record that this was ever brought to our attention,” Subway said in an emailed statement. “When we heard about the possibility of a second complainant, we began an investigation that is ongoing.”
The second complaint relates to Rochelle Herman, a former journalist who worked with the FBI for nearly a decade in its investigation into Fogle.
Herman told Gawker that she notified Subway of Fogle’s interest in children in 2009 through a comment form on Subway’s corporate website.
“I told them how Jared had approached my children — that I met him during my radio show program — and that he had approached my children and had made sexual comments about wanting to do things with my children and their friends,” Herman told Gawker. “I never got a ‘Thank you for emailing’ or anything like that, but I sent it and it did go through.”
A former Subway franchisee claims she separately made company executives aware of Fogle’s interest in children.
As Business Insider previously reported, the franchisee claims she shared disturbing text-message conversations from 2008 with Subway in which Fogle asked her to set up a meeting with her underage cousin, according to the franchisee’s lawyer.
The messages that appeared to be from Fogle also repeatedly asked the woman to advertise herself on Craigslist for sex with other men, according to the lawyer. He asked her if he could watch the sexual acts and told her she can make about $US500 per act, the woman said.
The woman claims she contacted Subway’s corporate office regarding the issue, and she requested that Subway allow her to remove all marketing related to Fogle from her store, according to the lawyer.
She met with two levels of management, shared the messages with them, “and specifically requested not to have his imagery and merchandising related to him in her stores,” the lawyer said. “She also specifically warned them that he should not be interacting with young people.”
Subway told Business Insider that it has no record of that allegation.
If it’s true that Subway was tipped off to Fogle’s questionable behaviour, then the company should have immediately launched an investigation into their spokesman,
Pennsylvania criminal defence attorney Michael Malloy tells us.
Subway should also explain its system for reporting and investigating allegations like these, so employees and customers can trust that it won’t happen again, Malloy said.
“What are they doing to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future?” Malloy said. “If there are these kinds of allegations tomorrow, what is the process?”
Business Insider has asked Subway about its procedure for investigating claims such as those made against Fogle. The company did not provide any details on its process for fielding and investigating such allegations.
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