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September 12, 2015

Subway acknowledges it received 'serious' complaint about Fogle in 2011

Company concludes investigation into former pitchman Jared Fogle

For the first time since allegations broke against former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle in July, the iconic sandwich chain has acknowledged it received a "serious" complaint in 2011, but failed to take action at the time.

On Friday, Subway announced that it had completed its own investigation into Fogle, who pleaded guilty in August to charges of possessing child pornography and engaging in sexual acts with minors.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Subway said that the company identified a complaint about Fogle that was submitted via Subway's website in 2011, Business Insider reports.

The investigation identified one complaint that was submitted via SUBWAY’s website in 2011 that expressed concerns about Mr. Fogle. Although the complaint was serious, there was nothing that implied anything about sexual behavior or criminal activity involving Mr. Fogle. We regret that this comment was not properly escalated or acted upon.

The statement does not reveal the nature of the complaint. It notes only that Subway's investigators sifted through more than one million comments submitted to its customer relations team.  The company, which has severed ties with Fogle, also says that it has committed itself to strengthening its processes for reviewing and escalating customer comments, complaints and inquiries.

Subway's findings conflict, however, with a report made by former Subway franchisee Cindy Mills, who told Business Insider that she had warned company executives about Fogle in 2008. At that time, she said, she received numerous disturbing text messages from Fogle referencing sexual acts with minors and contact with underage prostitutes in Thailand and the United States.

In August, Florida journalist Rochelle Herman-Walrond told Gawker that she too had warned Subway about Fogle in 2009 after allegedly recording conversations in which he spoke about sexual interest and intentions with children.

After pleading guilty, prosecutors say Fogle will serve between 5-20 years in prison and will pay an expected $1.4 million in restitution to his victims.