Jared Fogle: Another VIP claiming to help children who allegedly harmed them – Washington Post

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.”

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. Statements that once seemed innocuous — “I speak at schools all around the country,” Fogle wrote in his 2006 memoir — take on dark undertones.

From Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky to the Catholic Church’s many scandals, we’ve heard this story before: accused pedophile worked with youth while recruiting children for abuse.

[Why Jared Fogle seemed like the perfect Subway spokesman]

Sandusky is perhaps the most notorious example. A serial child molester, he used the Second Mile, an organization for boys in need that he founded, to find victims: “The Pennsylvania attorney general has said that Sandusky used the Second Mile to prey on young boys and that he met each of the eight boys mentioned in the grand jury report through the foundation,” the New York Times wrote in 2011.

BBC star Jimmy Savile, who died in 2011 and was never prosecuted, preyed on patients at a hospital where he volunteered. Via The Washington Post’s Terrence McCoy: “With unfettered access to Leeds General Infirmary, the health service report said, he raped and fondled boys, girls, men and women in offices and corridors. He also allegedly committed sexual acts on dead bodies, and even told several hospital workers that he made jewelry out of one man’s glass eyeball.”

British MP Cyril Smith, a friend of Savile’s who died in 2010 and was never prosecuted, also allegedly took advantage of children in need. “It has been claimed he abused teenagers at Cambridge House, a privately run ‘hostel for working boys’ in Rochdale, and raped boys at Knowl View residential school in the town,” the Guardian wrote last year.

The court document charging Fogle did not say he actively recruited children through the Jared Foundation — now seemingly erased from the Internet — in the same way Sandusky, for example, used Second Mile.

But 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.

Subway made Fogle a self-help star, but he stands of accused of engaging in crimes while working for a great cause. As bizarre as this seems, it’s nothing new. After all, Bill Cosby, who endowed universities with millions and purported to be a mentor to young people, has been accused of sexual assault (allegations he has repeatedly denied).

The problem is by no means confined to celebrities. Every week, it seems, a coach or teacher somewhere is charged with crimes for allegedly molesting young people who trusted him — or were intimidated by him. There’s even the recent case of J. Dennis Hastert, former speaker of the House — and wrestling coach — indicted for breaking banking laws in an attempt to hide “past misconduct,” as prosecutors put it, related to allegations he molested a student. (Hastert pleaded not guilty.)

“There are family members, friends and neighbors, even teachers, coaches and clergy who treat children better than most adults, listen to what they are really saying and strive to meet their emotional, physical and spiritual needs as a means of fulfilling their own sexual needs and desires,” according to the Web site of the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse. “The ‘nicer’ the molester appears and the more ‘troubled’ the child appears, the more difficult it is to detect and believe the sexual abuse.”

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.”

Though Fogle has not pleaded guilty yet — and his family said he is “seeking medical treatment” — perhaps he was aware that he was using his status as a healer of sorts to hurt young people.

“When you think about what it is I do, it’s pretty cool,” he said in 2004. “When I come to an event, all I have to do is be me.”