Trigger Warning: Frank Discussion of Child Sexual Abuse
“Would you, would you, would you let me… Will you let me see your kids naked?” – Jared Fogle in a recorded phone call to journalist and informant Rochelle Herman-Walrond, whose children were 10 and 11 at the time.
It’s impossible to determine when Subway’s slimmed-down spokesman first began using his money and fame to indulge his twisted desires. What is certain, however, is that by the time of his 2015 arrest, Jared Fogle had lived a Jekyll-and-Hyde existence for most of his life. The ability to present a facade wholly opposite his true self had been an integral part of his personality since childhood. When classmates bullied and ostracized him at school because of his weight, he pretended it didn’t bother him while anesthetizing his pain with food. Later, he carried that duality with him into adulthood. When in character as “Jared from Subway ” he was careful to appear humble, kind, non-threatening, and above all, concerned for children. Only after the crowds had gone and the cameras stopped rolling did the predator reveal himself.
In retrospect, there were clues to his depravity all along. They were small at first, easily overlooked details and patterns of behavior that would become clear only with the benefit of hindsight, then too big to ignore.
Jared married his first wife, Elizabeth Christie, in 2001. At that point, he had been thin for only a few years, and the Subway money was just starting to roll in. Consequently, his sexual history was almost certainly quite limited, and it would have been perfectly reasonable for his then-wife to assume any problems with intimacy were due to a combination of self-consciousness and inexperience. Regardless, their relationship was troubled, and Elizabeth fled their Indianapolis home after only five years. In her divorce petition, she stated the marriage was “irretrievably broken.” She also sought a restraining order against her estranged husband, which the court granted. Although Elizabeth has never publicly discussed her ex-husband, an unnamed source later told media outlets he “became controlling and had a mean streak in him.” The divorce was finalized in 2007.
Meanwhile, Jared kept himself busy promoting the Subway subsistence diet. Even after medical experts determined the plan resulted in 1,000 calories or less per day, meeting the clinical definition of starvation, the fast food giant continued pushing it – and him – to the public. What Subway executives didn’t know, or perhaps what they pretended not to know, was that by doing so, they were complicit in far worse things than attempting to convince millions of people to adopt an unhealthy and unsustainable lifestyle.
Studies have shown that pedophiles often seek out people and opportunities that allow them access to kids. In that respect, Jared Fogle was no different. Around the time Elizabeth, who happened to be a pediatric nurse, left him, Fogle began spending more time and energy on the Jared Foundation, a supposedly-charitable organization he created in 2004. Its stated goal was to fight childhood obesity, and in cooperation with Subway, it brought Fogle into hundreds of elementary schools a year. Under the guise of discussing physical fitness, he gained access to thousands of children, sometimes one-on-one.
And it was through these same appearances that Jared would meet the two people who would change his life in dramatically different ways. Forever.
(Please return in a few days for the next infamous installment of the Jared Fogle story. Sadly, I cannot state precisely which day because I suck at time management. Thanks again for stopping by.)