Lawsuit alleges Subway knew about Jared Fogle's "depravities" but failed to act

Katie McLaughlin
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Jared Fogle's ex-wife is talking about a lawsuit filed on her behalf against Subway in connection with her ex-husband, former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle.

At an afternoon news conference, Katie McLaughlin discussed the litigation filed against Subway. McLaughlin is seeking damages from Subway.

"This is not a position I ever wanted to be in," said McLaughlin, adding that when the FBI knocked on her door, "it was the worst day of my life."

To her ex-husband's victims, McLaughlin said the healing process is lifelong. "Finding out your husband is a child predator is devastating," McLaughlin said.

According to court documents, the lawsuit alleges that Subway knew of Jared Fogle's "depravities" and "failed to act as a corporation should."

"I have a three-year-old and a five-year-old who now ask me everyday about jail and where their father is. And I know that those questions are just going to elaborate as the years go on, as to what happened, where did this start from, and I think I owe my kids an explanation. And I will not lie to my kids," said McLaughlin.

The legal complaint alleges that Subway received reports on at least three occasions regarding "Jared's sexual interest in and activity with children." Following two of those reports, the lawsuit alleges that Subway responded "by sending a public relations employee to ask Jared about the allegations." The lawsuit says Subway admitted that the third complaint was "not properly escalated or acted upon."

Jared Fogle

The lawsuit says that Subway failed to report the allegations to law enforcement.

Full statement from McLaughlin:

When the FBI banged on my door on July 7th, 2015, I thought it was the worst day of my life. I had no idea that the nightmare was just beginning. Like the rest of America, I was shocked by what I learned in the weeks and months to follow.

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.

Finding out that Subway did not act upon at least one complaint while continuing to utilize Jared as their spokesperson and facilitate his visits to those hundreds of schools is beyond comprehension.

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.

This is not a position I ever wanted to be in. Bringing this lawsuit was not an easy decision to make. I am by nature and practice a very private person. I have kept my children out of the public arena, despite their father’s career, arrest, and conviction.

I actually want to thank you all in the media for respecting my privacy and the privacy of my children over the past year. I recognize that filing a lawsuit is taking a public step. However, I chose to make this statement today, rather than risk media presence at my home and in my neighborhood. I would ask that you please continue to respect my privacy and the privacy of my children."

According to the lawsuit, one of the incidents occurred in 2004, when Subway's then-Senior Vice President of Marketing received a complaint that Jared Fogle had approached a girl at a promotional event in Las Vegas for a sex act. Subway's response, the lawsuit alleges, was to send the Senior Vice President of Marketing to ask Fogle and the franchisee owner, not the victim, about what happened, and failed to investigate further.

Another incident from 2008 is also detailed in the lawsuit complaint. A Florida Subway franchisee, Cindy Mills, reported to then-CEO Jeff Moody that Jared Fogle had made disturbing comments about children, including Fogle saying that "he really liked them young," and that he had had intercourse with minors from ages 9 to 16, and suggested that the franchisee prostitute herself.

Moody allegedly told Mills, "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."

The "teacher" being referred to is the plaintiff, Katie McLaughlin.

Mills said Moody indicated he'd heard similar complaints about Jared Fogle in the past.

Mills also told two other Subway executives about the conversations she'd had with Fogle. After that, Subway sent its Senior Public Relations Manager to speak to Fogle himself, who denied the allegations.

The lawsuit said Subway did nothing more, and either lacked the proper protocols to deal with that type of situation or failed to follow those protocols.

When asked to comment on the suit, a Subway spokesperson responded to Eyewitness News with a statement sent in e-mail:

“As this is pending legal action, we cannot provide comment.”

About the case

Fogle was sentenced last November to more than 15 years in prison in connection with child porn and sex crimes charges. He unsuccessfully appealed his sentence this year.

The former Subway spokesman pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography - some of it created by the former CEO of the Jared Foundation, Russell Taylor. Taylor was sentenced to 27 years in prison after pleading guilty to child exploitation and porn charges.

Fogle is housed at a federal prison in Littleton, Colorado.

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