(Reuters) - The ex-wife of former Subway sandwich pitchman and child sex offender Jared Fogle sued the company in Indiana on Monday, alleging it knew about his pedophilia and failed to act.
Kathleen McLaughlin, who divorced Fogle last year, charged in the lawsuit that Subway depicted her and their children, now 5 and 3, in a commercial without permission while aware of Fogle's sexual interest in minors.
Fogle pleaded guilty in November 2015 to charges of child pornography and traveling for illicit paid sex with minors. He became Subway's spokesman after losing 225 pounds (102 kg) on a diet that included sandwiches from the fast-food chain.
"Subway knew of Jared's depravities and failed to act as a responsible corporation should," according to the lawsuit filed in Indiana's Hamilton Superior Court.
A Subway spokesman said the Connecticut-based company would not comment on an active legal case.
The lawsuit filed by attorneys for the Church, Church, Hittle and Antrim law firm said that on at least three occasions during Fogle's 15 years as Subway's spokesman, the company received reports about his sexual interest in children.
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Subway responded to two of the reports by sending a public relations employee to ask Fogle about them. The company has admitted that the third report was "'not properly escalated or acted upon,'" the lawsuit said.
Subway announced a publicity campaign in February 2015 portraying Fogle as a family man. Subway used the likenesses of McLaughlin and the couple's children without getting proper consent while knowing about the allegations against Fogle, the lawsuit said.
McLaughlin is seeking unspecified damages for invasion of privacy, infliction of emotional distress, negligence and violating the right to publicity.
Fogle is serving a 15-1/2-year prison sentence upheld by a U.S. appeals court in Chicago in June.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)