Jared Fogle, the former Subway pitchman imprisoned after he admitted sex crimes against minors last year, has reportedly been beaten in prison by an inmate who "can't be around child molesters."
First reported by TMZ, the beating occurred on Jan. 29 at Englewood Prison near Denver, where Fogle, 38, is serving a 15-year sentence. The alleged assailant was Steven Nigg, 60.
"He had to hit him. That's how the whole thing started," Jimmy Nigg, Steven Nigg's nephew, told People. "He just can't be around child molesters. He doesn't like them." He added: "He can't figure out why you would do that to kids . . . He says, 'I can't be around those people.'"
Jimmy Nigg told AZcentral.com his uncle wished to send the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) a message about sex offenders confined in minimum-security facilities.
"In his words, my uncle's words, people convicted of these types of crimes, crimes against children, sexual predators, rapists, they shouldn't be in a minimum-security prison," Nigg told AZcentral.com. "He felt like it wasn't fair. [Fogle] gets to order any food he wants, he can use his money to do things. This guy is coming and prancing in like he can do anything he wants."
The BOP declined People's request to confirm the assault "based on the need to ensure safety and security in our institutions and in accordance with legal requirements including the Privacy Act"; a BOP records search confirmed Fogle and Nigg are at Englewood. Nigg's family also provided People a document with details of the alleged assault, which reportedly occurred in the prison yard. Nigg allegedly knocked Fogle to the ground before beating him, leaving him with a bloody nose, a swollen face and a scratched neck.
Nigg was placed in solitary for 10 days after the alleged assault. Fogle's attorney declined comment to People.
"What he wanted to do is send a message, and he did," Jimmy Nigg told AZcentral.com about his uncle, who has a long criminal record and is due to be released from prison on weapons charges in 2024. "If he wanted to kill Jared Fogle, he would have been able to, and he didn't. No one stopped him from assaulting Jared. He sent the message, and he walked away."
Even among celebrities accused of sex crimes, Fogle's downfall last year was particularly brutal. Once tipping the scales at 425 pounds, he found fame in 2000 pitching for Subway after he said he lost 245 pounds in 11 months on a self-devised Subway diet while a student at Indiana University.
"I ate a 6-inch turkey sub for lunch and a 12-inch Veggie Delite for dinner, and I had diet soda and a small bag of baked chips or pretzels with each meal," Fogle wrote in a 2006 memoir. "I never put cheese, mayo, or oil on my sandwiches, just mustard, and I never snacked between meals."
"That story played a huge role in [Subway's] growth," Mary Chapman, senior director of product innovation at Technomic, a market research firm, said last year. "It's not just Jared the man, it's what it represents."
Subway quickly distanced itself from Fogle after reports he paid for sex with girls under 18. According to court documents, when asking one underage girl he paid for sex to find another underage girl for him to have sex with, he said: "The younger the girl, the better."
The reports of Fogle's beating follow a number of tabloid stories about his purported decline in prison. Earlier this month, the New York Daily News reported he had "already gained 30 pounds in three months." The paper concluded he is no longer "eating fresh."
"Jared's breakfast is usually Frosted Flakes with fruit or oatmeal with cake," an unnamed "prison insider" told the paper. "He loves 'cake day' in the dining hall twice a week and he buys Honey Buns by the box . . . He's been known to eat an entire box of eight at one sitting." Citing Fogle's attorney, TMZ quickly contradicted the Daily News story, writing that Fogle is "eating standard prison fare, including soups, burgers, beef stew, BBQ chicken and enchilada casserole," and "hasn't gained a pound."
Sex offenders in prison face a hard road -- particularly when they are celebrities who cannot hide their crime.
"Sex offenders who can't pass themselves off as something else will typically find themselves in an undesirable position," according to the Prison Law Blog, "a resource for attorneys, criminal justice professionals, prisoners and their families and friends, along with anyone else seeking informed, honest, and authoritative information about prison law" partly run by a federal inmate, according to its website. "At best, they'll be avoided, and perhaps openly and directly called names and excluded from activities (e.g., sports, card games, TV rooms, work assignments, etc.). At worse, they'll be robbed, beaten, or even killed. Many will find that they aren't welcome to sit at certain tables in the chow hall, or might have to spend years in protective custody (i.e., the hole)."
On its website, the BOP said it "offers sex offender treatment to offenders with a history of sexual offending and who volunteer for treatment." Not every sex offender can participate, however, and it is not available at every institution.
"Eligibility for participation in a treatment program depends on an offender's evaluated risk of future sexual offending," the website read. "Institutions offering this treatment often have a higher proportion of sex offenders in their offender population. This higher concentration of sex offenders within an institution helps offenders feel more comfortable acknowledging their concerns and seeking treatment." Englewood, where Fogle is incarcerated, does offer sex offender treatment.