A comment made about underage girls nearly a decade ago by former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle in the presence of a reporter might have acted as the catalyst for the investigation that found him guilty of preying on children.
Rochelle Herman, a local TV reporter in Florida covering a health event at a middle school, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Thursday Fogle made a disturbing comment to her, completely at random, in 2007.
“He told me that he thought middle school girls were so hot,” Herman told Cooper. “I was in shock … I actually was questioning, ‘Did I really just hear what I think I heard?’ I looked over at my cameraman … and he was just astounded.”
Herman said she immediately went to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and has been working with the agency for nearly a decade in its investigation of Fogle, who plead guilty this week to traveling across state lines to have sex with minor children and possessing and distributing child pornography.
Herman alleges Fogle attempted to persuade her into putting hidden cameras in the rooms of her young children, so he could watch them without their knowledge.
“I had two young children at the time, and he talked to me about installing hidden cameras in their rooms and asked me if I would choose which child I would like him to watch,” she said.
Herman told CNN she spent more than four years recording conversations with Fogle, wherein he talked to her in detail about “numerous times” he engaged in sexual conduct with minors.
“He talked about sex with underage children,” she said of Fogle, after she gained his trust. “It was just something that he really, really enjoyed… He trusted me for unknown reasons.”
Fogle accepted a plea deal this week that will require him to serve a minimum of five years in prison. He must also pay $1.4 million in restitution to a total of 14 victims.