Before Subway icon Jared Fogle was charged with multiple counts of child pornography and paying for sex with a minor, he was traveling the country speaking to children about how to improve their lives.
Fogle, who is expected to plead guilty to the charges, has been visiting grade schools for over a decade to promote healthy eating and exercise. Though he was speaking to groups of kids as early as 2003, his Subway-sanctioned “tour de pants” saw him visiting dozens of elementary and middle schools over the course of a year to talk about “healthy options.” Before that, Subway launched “Jared’s School Tour,” another national tour that saw Fogle speaking to kids about his weight loss, symbolized by a very large pair of pants.
Overall, it appears that Fogle made hundreds of presentations to children over the course of his career as a Subway spokesman. “The kids love the pants,” he said at one school visit.
That Fogle worked so closely with kids is particularly jarring given the contents of a plea agreement released by the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Indiana on Wednesday. According to USA Today, the document alleges that Fogle had sex with “at least two minors,” reportedly 16 and 17 years old, between 2010 and 2013. He allegedly asked one of the victims to “provide him with access to minors as young as 14 years” for sex. “The younger the girl, the better,” he allegedly said.
In a statement Subway spokesperson said Fogle’s actions “are inexcusable and do not represent our brand’s values.” She noted that the company had already ended its relationship with him.
While traveling the country and meeting kids for Subway, Fogle also partnered with charities like the Children’s Better Health Institute and the Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition to push his message of combating childhood obesity. In 2011, he helped establish a “child wellness” program in Arizona schools. His foundation, established in 2004, was specifically geared toward kids.
“As adults we know about the healthier options that are available, but kids need to be directed a little bit more,” he said in 2008.
Subway cut its business ties with Fogle in July following the initial revelations that he may have been involved in child porn.
Fogle is not the only person with ties to The Jared Foundation who has been accused of child abuse. Russell Taylor, the former director of the foundation, was also accused of possessing — and producing — child pornography.
Jared Fogel, you are this year’s most putrid human of the world.
[cross-posted from thinkprogress]