SARASOTA, FL (WFLA) – There’s a Tampa Bay area connection to the Jared Fogle story. The former Subway pitchman pleaded guilty to having sex with minors and it was a Sarasota woman who helped the FBI bring him to justice.
Rochelle Herman-Walrond is a former journalist who met Jared Fogle around ten years ago.She interviewed him on her radio and television programs, and the pair worked together at charity events. The two became friends.
“I thought he was a nice guy. I thought he was a nice guy with a great story,” recalled Walrond.
But soon it all changed when he said a crude remark during a school event. She said, “He told me how hot middle school girls were.”
Over time, Fogle would spontaneously describe his sexual encounters with children. Walrond said, “Gender didn’t make a difference to him, the younger the better. And then when indicated what age are you mostly interested in, seem to be around age 11.” She added, “I think he’s a monster.”
She doesn’t truly know why he opened up to her. “I think he was trying to see if I would be interested, he felt very comfortable with me,” she said.
Truthfully, Walrond was horrified and approached the FBI. She said for four years she secretly recorded conversations with him, playing along to see what he would say. “He had a lot of these sexual fantasies with children.” She added, “He categorically listed ways that he would develop relationships with children and entice them to do sexual things with him.”
During one trip, he asked her to help him out. Walrond said, “He wanted me to arrange a party for him, a kids party.” She made up a list of children, ages 7 to 11. And he shared his true desires. “He wanted to get the children and have sexual intercourse with them.”
While working as an FBI informant, she put on a façade. But hearing these disgusting desires took its toll. She said, “After the conversations I would break down, I would cry. I had two small children at the time, and I did it in their name because I would want someone to do that for me.” “You have to put yourself in a position where it goes against your grain and against your morals but you’re doing it for the better good.”
She’s happy that Fogle pleaded guilty this week. “I feel relieved; I was very scared that he was going to get off with just child pornography charges and I’m very grateful that he did confess.” He faces up to 12 ½ years in prison. But Walrond wishes he could be put away for much longer. “I think that our laws should be changed I think he should spend a lifetime in prison, he has 14 victims out there.”
Going through this was a personal hell for Walrond. “People are raped physically, and I’m not taking anything from them. But being mentally raped year after year, day after day, it’s horrible. You can’t escape it.” She also would like to hear from him one more time. “I would like an apology because it’s mentally draining,” she said.