When Jared Fogle founded the Jared Foundation in 2004, it seemed like an obvious move. Fogle, by his own account, had developed an unhealthy relationship with food as a youth that led him to tip the scales at 425 pounds before embarking on his famous “Subway diet.” Armed with little more than willpower and six-inch turkey subs, Fogle dropped more than half his body weight, possibly saving his own life — and definitely launching his career.
Why not parlay his Subway spokesmanship into charitable work and prevent children from falling into the same traps he had?
“To fight childhood obesity,” he said in 2007 when asked why he founded the Jared Foundation. “I talk to schools. The kids know me. They watch way too much television. It’s been neat. It really has positively impacted people. It’s just in Indiana right now, but we’re hoping to go nationwide.”
No evidence has been presented that Fogle abused young people through his foundation or that he had some responsibility over the children he was allegedly abusing.
But now that Fogle’s attorney has said Fogle will plead guilty to possessing child pornography and having sex with underage girls, the Subway pitchman’s work with youth rings alarm bells of hypocrisy, at the very least.
In that respect, though on a much lesser scale, his situation may resemble that of Bill Cosby, who spent years going around the country preaching ethics to young people and parents but now stands accused by more than 40 women of sexual misconduct, which he denies.
While the court document charging Fogle did not say he actively recruited children through the Jared Foundation it noted that he “was the organizer of a charitable foundation in Indiana, which held events there and in other states” as well as “a spokesperson for a business having multiple worldwide retail locations, which he frequently visited for marketing purposes.”
And it said Fogle “repeatedly made travel plans in order to have his business trips coincide with his pursuit of commercial sex acts.”
The director of the Jared Foundation was Fogle’s alleged conspirator and “close personal friend” who facilitated the production and distribution of child pornography and “frequently accompanied the Defendant on various business trips.”
Indeed, as the New York Post reported — and photographs confirm — Fogle was in New York City working for Subway around the time prosecutors said he “engaged in sexual acts with Minor Victim 13” at the Plaza Hotel.
Prosecutors said Fogle, in some cases, “met the minors during social events in Indiana” — and experts say “the vast majority of the abuse against minors is from either a family member, or someone they know such as a coach, teacher or church leader,” as Discovery wrote in 2011.
“This notion of the creepy stranger,” Fred Berlin, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic in Baltimore, told Discovery, “that’s a rarity.”