Tuesday morning Jared Fogle’s home outside Indianapolis was raided by FBI and Indiana State Police who had a warrant relating to a child pornography investigation, according to multiple reports.
In April, Russell Taylor, head of Fogle’s eponymous charity, The Jared Foundation, was arrested on charges of possessing and producing child pornography.
Investigators found more than 400 videos in Taylor’s Indianapolis home. Some of the confiscated footage allegedly showed children being secretly filmed in bedrooms and bathrooms of Taylor’s home, federal prosecutors said.
Jared Fogle said that he immediately terminated ties with Taylor after his arrest. Subway has always maintained that the company never had any ties to Fogle’s Foundation or with Taylor.
Subway made a brief statement on Tuesday afternoon:
“We are shocked about the news and believe it is related to a prior investigation of a former Jared Foundation employee. We are very concerned and will be monitoring the situation closely. We don’t have any more details at this point.”
Despite the disavowal of Taylor’s alleged criminal activities, the reality is that Taylor had been Executive Director and the sole employee of the Jared Foundation for seven years prior to his arrest. The Foundation has the expressed mission:
Our mission is to eliminate Childhood Obesity by raising awareness and developing programs that educate and inspire kids to live healthier, happier lives.
While the Foundation has not been implicated in any way in the police investigation, there is a lingering question of whether to alleged abuse of children in Taylor’s own home may have been facilitated or supported by his full-time job running a children’s charity.
This story echoes of Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant coach of Penn State, and the Second Mile charity. The charity, founded by Sandusky in 1977, had grown to serve about 100,000 children and youth each year. After Sandusky was charged and convicted of multiple counts of child sexual abuse, the charity shut down.
Ending obesity, one of the nation’s most celebrated health campaigns, was a perfect cause for Fogle who famously lost 245 pounds eating Subway sandwiches. Perhaps the publicity will raise awareness about child sexual abuse, a topic still taboo and painful, but is tragically common in this country. Researchers on crimes against children estimate that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are victims of child sexual abuse in the U.S.
Most children’s nonprofits require background checks and child abuse clearances and stories of abuse are extremely rare. However, this unpleasant investigation is a jarring reminder that child abuse is pervasive and it’s hard to determine where the safe harbors lie.