Ex-Subway pitchman blames victim’s parents for her ‘destructive behaviors’
By Eric M. Johnson
(Reuters) – Former Subway sandwich pitchman Jared Fogle, who is in prison for child pornography and sex with minors convictions, has responded to a lawsuit filed on behalf of one of his underaged female victims by blaming her parents for what he called “destructive behaviors” such as drinking and drug abuse.
Fogle, 38, who became famous after shedding weight on a diet that included sandwiches from the fast-food chain, pleaded guilty in November 2015 to charges of child pornography and traveling for illicit paid sex with minors.
A civil lawsuit has been brought against him on behalf of the girl, and in a response to it on Thursday Fogle argued that her parents should be third-party defendants alongside him and that they may be liable for all or part of their daughter’s claims against him, court documents showed.
In a motion filed in court, Fogle said the parents’ “hateful and abusive” relationship toward each other, alcohol abuse and a lack of parental supervision caused emotional distress and depression suffered by their daughter, and paved the way for several “destructive behaviors” in which she engaged.
Fogle said in the complaint that her parents were liable for her “harmful activities” like alcohol abuse, substance abuse, self-mutilation, and sexual activity.
An attorney for Fogle declined to comment. Attorneys for the victim said “any statements will be filed in the federal court proceedings.” It was not immediately clear who was representing the victim’s parents.
The victim, who was under 18 years old at the time of the offenses, has not been identified to protect her privacy. She was surreptitiously videotaped by an associate of Fogle for pornography.
She was videotaped and photographed multiple times from March 2011 to January 2015 by cameras concealed throughout the Indiana home of Russell Taylor, the former head of Fogle’s charitable foundation.
Taylor pleaded guilty last year to a dozen counts of child sexual exploitation and one count of distributing and receiving child pornography.
The victim sued Fogle, Taylor and his wife, in March. Her civil case seeks monetary damages of $150,000 for personal injuries and mental anguish.
The recorded pornography became a part of the case against Fogle. Fogle is serving a 15-1/2-year prison sentence, which was upheld by a U.S. appeals court in Chicago in June.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Bill Rigby and James Dalgleish)