The ex-wife of former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle is suing the fast food company for not acting on its alleged knowledge of Fogle's sexual interest in children.
Katie McLaughlin's suit, filed Monday in Indiana, alleges Subway was told about Fogle's interest in having sex with children as early as 2004 — years before they began dating — but did nothing to stop it and continued having Fogle promote the brand for a decade.
"The safety of kids was not a priority but Subway's bottom line was," the suit argues. "Subway ignored its corporate responsibility and provided a platform for [Fogle] to prey on children by sending him to elementary schools all over the country."
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Subway issued a statement saying it could not comment on pending litigation.
Last year, Fogle, 39, pleaded guilty to distributing and receiving child pornography and traveling out of state to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison. The company has severed its ties to him, and Fogle and McLaughlin were divorced soon thereafter.
The restaurant chain has admitted it received a "serious" complaint about Jared Fogle in 2011, but that the complaint did not imply any criminal sexual activity.
After an internal investigation in 2015 found a former journalist named Rochelle Herman-Walrond once brought a "serious" complaint about Fogle to the company's attention, the company regretted that it was "not properly escalated or acted upon."
But that complaint did not imply anything about sexual behavior or criminal activity involving Mr. Fogle, the company said. "It is important to note that the investigation found no further evidence of any other complaints of any kind regarding Mr. Fogle that were submitted to or shared with SUBWAY."
Herman-Walrond is one of three people who allegedly came forward with information about Fogle's activity who are cited in McLaughlin's suit, which claims that "Subway failed every test of corporate responsibility in its response to each."
The lawsuit also claims that in 2004 a marketing executive was told Fogle approached a young girl for a sex act in Las Vegas and that a franchise owner alerted the company's CEO in 2008 that Fogle liked having sex with minors.
"He has met someone. She is a teacher and he seems to love her very much, and we think she will keep him grounded," then-Subway CEO Jeff Mills allegedly told the franchise owner, which McLaughlin claims she found out about in July 2015, after the FBI had raided her home.
McLaughlin claims that in both of those cases, Subway sent a public relations employee to discuss the claims with Fogle, but nothing more.
McLaughlin is seeking financial damages, though no amount is listed in the suit, NBC News reported.