INDIANAPOLIS (CBSNewYork/AP) — A famous face stood accused Wednesday of using wealth, status and secrecy to exploit children.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, prosecutors claimed that longtime Subway pitchman Jared Fogle traveled to pay for sex acts with minors while he stayed in upscale hotels in New York City and received child pornography that he knew had been secretly produced by the former director of his charitable foundation, federal prosecutors allege in a document released Wednesday.
The document released by prosecutors in Indianapolis said the allegations involve minors who appeared in pornography and two who participated in sex act. In all, 14 alleged victims were involved, Carlin reported.
Fogle has agreed to plead guilty to one count of traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and one count of distribution and receipt of child pornography.
Fogle appeared in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis to face the charges Wednesday. He sat with his clasped and replied “no” when asked if he had any questions about his rights.
He left the courthouse wearing a monitoring bracelet.
Fogle and federal prosecutors are still discussing a prison sentence, but they have agreed it will be five to 12 1/2 years. Fogle also agreed to pay $1.4 million in restitution to the 14 minor victims, who will each receive $100,000, according to a document filed ahead of an expected court appearance. He must also register as a sex offender, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
Fogle’s defense attorney, Jeremy Margolis, spoke to reporters.
“Jared Fogle expects to go to prison,” Margolis said. “He will do his time.”
In a statement, Margolis added that his client has a “medical problem” and “expects to get well.”
“Jared also understands that he requires significant psychiatric medical treatment and counseling. He has already begun that process by being extensively examined by a world-renowned expert in sexual conditions in order to chart a course to recovery. It is Jared’s intent and goal to become healthy again,” Margolis and co-defense counsel Ronald Elberger said. “Most importantly, Jared understands that he has hurt innocent people, vulnerable people, and his family. He has expressed remorse to me and to his loved ones, and will, when given the opportunity, express that remorse to this court and to the people he has harmed. His intent is to spend the rest of his life making amends.”
The plea agreement outlines Fogle’s trips to New York City to engage in commercial sexual acts with minors under the age of 18.
Victims include a 17 year-old-girl prosecutors say joined Fogle at the landmark Plaza Hotel opposite Central Park on Nov. 3, 2012. Fogle found the girl online, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said 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. He allegedly offered money for “access to minors as young as 14,” prosecutors said.
Several months later, prosecutors say he again paid the same girl for sex acts, this time at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, also across from Central Park. Prosecutors said the girl told Fogle her age when they first met and that he knew she was a minor.
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.”
“This is about using wealth, status, and secrecy to illegally exploit children,” said Josh Minkler, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
“Fame and fortune will not protect you from attacking those most vulnerable in our communities, and this is an absolute testament to that commitment,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter.
In the plea deal, Fogle also admitted to receiving child porn from his friend Russell Taylor.
The document also alleged that Fogle on multiple occasions received the sexually explicit images and videos produced by 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.
Investigators said 12 victims — girls and boys — were secretly filmed with cameras concealed in clock radios. The children were filmed changing clothes or bathing – sometimes in buildings were Taylor lived, prosecutors said.
In April, authorities arrested Taylor on seven counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.
After those charges were filed, Fogle issued a statement saying he was shocked by the allegations and was severing all ties with Taylor.
But prosecutors said 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.
In July, FBI agents raided Fogle’s home in Zionsville, Indiana, near Indianapolis.
Fogle’s fame and fortune started when he was a college student and went from 425 pounds down to 180, crediting subway sandwiches and exercise. 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.
When Fogle was attending 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 or any other aspects of the case.
We no longer have a relationship with Jared and have no further comment.
— SUBWAY® (@SUBWAY) August 18, 2015
In the plea agreement Fogle will pay the 14 victims $100,000 each.
Fogle’s wife, Katie Fogle, released a statement saying she was seeking a divorce.
“Obviously, I am extremely shocked and disappointed by the recent developments involving Jared. I am in the process of seeking a dissolution of the marriage,” Katie Fogle said. “My focus is exclusively on the well-being of my children. Neither I nor my family will have any further comment on the matter. I appreciate respect for my family’s privacy during this difficult time.”
Fogle was free as of Wednesday, but was wearing a monitoring bracelet and must register as a sex offender. He must return to court to change his plea to guilty officially and then he will be sentenced.
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