“The story you’re about to hear sounds crazy, but I can promise you it’s true.” So the voices of journalist Rochelle Herman begin at the beginning of “Jared From Subway: Catching a Monster,” a new docuseries that will debut Monday night on ID and available to stream on discovery+.
The story started, of course, with Jared Fogle, who came to light by achieving amazing weight loss by eating Subway food, and eventually became a spokesperson for the brand. More than a decade later, Fogle pleaded guilty to charges of child pornography and traveling to commit unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Herman helped the FBI bring him down.
It has been eight years since Fogle’s conviction, but many of the details of his case are still unknown. That will change with the Monday night premiere of the new documentary Jared From Subway: Catching a Monster, which will move three episodes back-to-back at 9 p.m.
Herman met Fogle in her capacity as a journalist, and she is the primary source for the program. Two of the 14 people Fogle has abused, Christian Showalter and Hannah Parrett, also participate. Here are six takeaways from the documentary and interviews conducted with Herman, Showalter and Parrett.
1. Fogle Raised a Red Flag Almost Immediately
In an interview last week, Herman recalled talking to Fogle at middle school. “He just came out and expressed his crush on pre-teen girls and how hot he thought they were. That was more than a red flag,” she said. She could tell right away that he wasn’t kidding or kidding. I kept asking myself “’Did I really hear what he said?’ And I did, and I knew I had to do something,” she said.
2. Herman became an informant for the FBI, and she had to do everything carefully
For the FBI to be able to use the information she gave them about Fogle, things had to be done a certain way. “Initially when I started with the FBI, there was a protocol you had to follow to keep everything legal and visible in court. There is a system to answer the calls, make the calls, complete the calls. That was all new to me, but it was very surreal,” said Herman. “It was kind of like James Bond stuff, because we’d get together in alley ways and we’d meet at all hours, in the middle of the night or early in the morning. And always in abandoned places.”
3. Herman had to convince Fogle She shared her interests
The FBI didn’t advise her on how to get information from Fogle, but her journalistic instincts helped her do it. “They said they were impressed by how little I would say and how much it would reveal,” she said. “He felt so comfortable and confident talking to me and that I was his confidant, that I was of the same mind. And that was far from the truth because I was obviously playing a role because I wanted him to continue sharing with me. If he shared more and more information that would bring me closer to saving the children that were out there being abused.”
4. Monsters Often Keep Doing What They’re Doing Because People Won’t Talk
Herman said police told her that people often abuse because they don’t want to be involved. She hopes to see the docuseries drive home and that’s a bad idea. “To prevent predators like Jared, there needs to be a higher level of public action and understanding,” she said.
5. More Fogle Victims Are Likely Out There
Herman believes there are still many victims who have not come to light since the Fogle case. “The reason I did the docuseries is because I felt that all these years I had to say something, share, and let those who are out there now – who were once children, but who are now adults – stand with me. I am your voice,” she said. “If you’re afraid, this is a safe place and you can come forward with your story, you don’t have to suffer in silence, and try to push those darkest days down.”
6. Showalter and Parrett Choose to Speak Out to Help Others
Both are stepdaughters of Russell Taylor, Fogle’s business partner and former executive Director of Fogle’s charity, The Jared Foundation, and were abused by Taylor and Fogle. They have not previously spoken on the record about the abuse, but said in an interview last week that they felt compelled to.
“We stewed about this for a little while before we actually decided that we were going to participate in the docuseries. But I’m so glad we did, because the longer we stay silent and the longer we keep all these things to ourselves, the more these cases are swept under the rug, the longer they stay in the dark ,” Parrett said. “And I think by participating in the docuseries and coming out and talking to people and doing these interviews ultimately help other people find their voice.”
“And also to bring so much awareness to what’s really going on in the lives of not only – obviously we’re survivors – but in the lives of the victims. I know we don’t like to be called victims but people are being victimized right now and they need to be aware that what they are being told is not normal and know that people are on their side,” said Showalter .