NewsPublic Affairs / August 19, 2015

Fogle Agrees to Guilty Plea in Child Porn, Child-Sex Charges

Fogle Agrees to Guilty Plea in Child Porn, Child-Sex ChargesLongtime Subway spokesman Jared Fogle has agreed to plead guilty to one count each of travelling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and the distribution and receipt of child pornography. He appeared in court earlier Wednesday to hear the charges.2015-08-19T00:00:00-04:00
Fogle Agrees to Guilty Plea in Child Porn, Child-Sex Charges

Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle leaves federal court in Indianapolis Wednesday, Aug. 19 after agreeing to plead guilty to child pornography and child-sex abuse charges.

Photo by Drew Daudelin

INDIANAPOLIS - Longtime Subway spokesman Jared Fogle has agreed to plead guilty to one count each of travelling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and the distribution and receipt of child pornography. He appeared in court earlier Wednesday to hear the charges.

Prosecutors say under the plea deal, Fogle faces between five and 12 years in prison, among other things. Fogle, 37, will enter the plea on a later date.

The agreement filed by prosecutors ahead of Fogle's court appearance says he agrees to: pay $1.4 million in restitution to 14 minor victims, each receiving $100,000, register as a sex offender and undergo treatment for sexual disorders.

“Let’s call this what it is: This is about using wealth, status and secrecy to illegally exploit children,” U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said at a press conference after Fogle's court hearing.

Acting on a tip from Indiana State Police, prosecutors combed through thousands of emails from Fogle and Russell Taylor, the former director of Fogle's charitable foundation, as well as 3,000 videos from both men. Taylor is alleged to have secretly videotaped children and shared the videos with Fogle. Prosecutors made it a priority to seek restitution for the victims, said assistant U.S. Attorney Steve DeBrota, who led the investigation.

"With regard to a lot of the victims in Indiana, they had no idea they were being filmed," DeBrota said. "So they had to wake up one day and find out that they had been sexually exploited, because they happened to be at someone’s house showering or changing clothes or whatever. It made it all the worse that that’s happening with a famous person, because it draws attention to what has happened."

Defense attorney Jeremy Margolis said Fogle acknowledges wrongdoing.

"He knows that restitution can’t undo the damage that he’s done, but he will do all in his power to make it right,” Margolis told reporters Wednesday after Fogle's court appearance.

He also said that his client has a "medical problem" and "expects to get well."

Margolis didn't specify what condition Fogle has, but Margolis said Fogle sought evaluation by a "world-class psychiatrist." He didn't take any questions as he read a statement to reporters outside the federal courthouse.

Fogle's wife, Katie, said in a statement that she is "extremely shocked and disappointed" by the allegations, and that she is seeking a divorce. The couple has two children.

Read the Plea Agreement

Read the Court Documents

Prosecutors allege that Fogle traveled and stayed in upscale hotels to meet children for sex. The documents also say that the allegations involved at least 12 minors who appeared in pornography and two who participated in sex acts.  

Fogle faces one count of traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and one count of distribution and receipt of child pornography. The document, known as an "information," is often used to detail charges when a defendant has already agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors.

Fogle, 37, became Subway's pitchman after shedding more than 200 pounds as an Indiana University student, in part by eating the chain's sandwiches. He was the public face of the company for more than 15 years — a period in which its number of locations tripled, making Subway the world's largest restaurant chain.

Subway suspended the partnership in July after agents raided his home in Zionsville, and the chain said this week that it had ended its relationship with Fogle.

Details of the Allegations

Federal prosecutors allege in the documents that the married father of two traveled to pay for sex acts, including with minors, from 2007 until as recently as June and that he repeatedly planned business trips to coincide with his sexual pursuits.

On Nov. 3, 2012, Fogle allegedly paid a 17-year-old girl who he had found online to engage in sex acts while he was staying at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, according to the papers. Several months later, he again paid her for sex acts while staying at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, according to the document, which says the girl told Fogle her age when they first met and that he knew she was a minor.

After the first meeting, the document said, Fogle texted the girl and offered to pay her a fee if she could find him another underage girl to pay for sex acts.

During these discussions, Fogle "stated that he would accept a 16-year-old girl, while stating that the younger the girl, the better," the document said.

Between 2011 and 2013, Fogle also repeatedly sent text messages to other escorts, "soliciting them to provide him with access to minors as young as 14 to 15 years," the document said, adding that he would only make such requests after engaging in sex acts with the escorts to "insure that they were not undercover police officers."

The document also alleged that Fogle on multiple occasions received sexually explicit images and videos produced by Russell Taylor, 43, who ran the charitable Jared Foundation. The foundation sought to raise awareness about childhood obesity and arranged for Fogle to visit schools and urge children to adopt healthy eating and exercise habits.

Two months before Fogle's home was raided, authorities arrested Taylor on seven counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Investigators said they discovered a cache of sexually explicit photos and videos Taylor allegedly produced by secretly filming minor children at his home.

After those charges were filed, Fogle issued a statement saying he was shocked by the allegations and was severing all ties with Taylor.

Prosecutors also allege that Fogle received from Taylor multiple images and videos, some of which were taken by a video camera hidden in a clock radio that filmed children changing clothes or bathing. Some were taken in buildings were Taylor lived.

The document says Fogle knew those depicted were minors, some as young as 13 or 14 years old, and in some cases knew the minors involved by name and had met them "during social events in Indiana."

In other cases, the document said, Taylor allegedly obtained sexually explicit images taken by others outside the U.S., including videos of children around age 6, and shared them with Fogle.

Taylor's attorney, Brad Banks, has said his client was briefly hospitalized after the allegations against him first surfaced. Sheriff's officials have said Taylor tried to take his own life in jail.

Banks said Tuesday that his client remains in federal custody and that prosecutors have until Sept. 3 to issue a grand jury indictment.

Fogle's history with Subway reaches back to his days at Indiana University. The college paper published a story on his weight loss that was then picked up by national media.

Soon after, Subway's advertising agency reached out to Fogle and asked if he wanted to be in a TV commercial. The ensuing ad campaign resonated in part because Fogle seemed like such a regular guy, which made weight loss seem simple and achievable.

In 2013, Subway celebrated the 15-year anniversary of Fogle's famous diet by featuring him in a Super Bowl ad and making him available to news organizations for interviews. At the time, Fogle said he still traveled regularly on behalf of Subway. He also said he had a Subway "black card" that let him eat at the chain for free.

The company, based in Milford, Connecticut, has declined to provide details on its financial arrangements with Fogle.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 

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