NEW YORK DAILY DAYS
Updated: Thursday, November 19, 2015, 10:18 AM
Disgraced former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle pleaded guilty to child porn and sex crime charges Thursday, admitting horrific allegations that he collected graphic images of children as young as 6 and paid for sex with underage girls are true.
Fogle appeared in court Thursday for sentencing by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, months after he agreed to plead guilty.
After detailing the plea — which said Fogle collected a trove of child porn and had sex with at least two underage prostitutes as young as 16 — Pratt asked if the statements were true.
“Yes, it is the truth, Your Honor,” Fogle said, according to local media inside the courtroom.
Prosecutors are seeking a 12 ½-year sentence, while Fogle’s attorneys have asked for five years. But federal judges have wide discretion: Pratt could go beyond the prosecution’s recommendation and sentence the fast food icon to up to 50 years behind bars.
In August, Fogle confessed to collecting child pornography and paying for sex with teen prostitutes as young as 16. He agreed to plead guilty to the charges.
Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle arrives at the federal courthouse in Indianapolis, Thursday.
The former Subway star, who lost his job amid the investigation, has paid a total of $ 1.4 million to his 14 victims, with each getting $ 100,000.
The fast food icon’s downfall started when federal officials raided his suburban Indianapolis home in July and seized several computers and DVDs from the married dad.
Investigators arrived with a warrant after the former head of Fogle’s childhood obesity charity was arrested earlier this year on similar child porn charges. Fogle, 38, later admitted that he got some of his child porn from the Jared Foundation’s ex-director Russell Taylor.
Authorities said Taylor secretly filmed 12 minors as they were nude — and prosecutors said Fogle got his hands on material showed eight of the dozen children.
Some of the girls were young as 12, prosecutors said. Fogle could have stopped Taylor from victimizing some of minors, prosecutors have said, but he instead encouraged Taylor to produce additional child pornography.
Taylor has agreed to plead guilty to child exploitation and child pornography charges.
Subway cut all ties with its former pitchman amid the investigation. In the government’s filing, prosecutors said “Fogle has sacrificed absolutely everything he had built — including his family — to engage in sexually explicit conduct with two minors. He emboldened a molester and a producer of child pornography.”
Prosecutors sought a 12 ½-year sentence, while Fogle’s attorneys asked for five years.
In their sentencing memorandum seeking a five-year prison term, Fogle’s attorneys said he “is profoundly sorry for what he has done.” They also wrote that Fogle suffers from “hypersexuality and alcohol abuse/dependence” and is committed to receiving treatment for his medical conditions.
In addition, Fogle’s attorneys stressed that he never engaged in any sexual conduct with any of Taylor’s minor victims and played no role in producing any of the images or videos recorded by Taylor.
Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle leaves the Federal Courthouse in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015.
Fogle’s attorneys said in their sentencing memorandum that Fogle’s offer to pay each victim restitution demonstrates “both the genuine remorse he feels and his commitment” to help his victims “move forward” with their lives.
Fogle, a weight-loss sensation on the University of Indiana campus, debuted in his first commercial for Subway in 2000 after the sandwich chain caught wind of the student’s transformation. Once weighing a whopping 425 pounds with a 60-inch waist, Fogle dropped 245 pounds on a do-it-yourself diet of nothing but turkey and vegetable subs from the campus Subway.
“The Subway Guy” became a national sensation, and Fogle appeared two years ago in a Super Bowl ad marking the 15-year anniversary of his diet program.
In 1999, Subway had about 11,000 domestic locations. After Fogle’s arrival, that number ballooned to 27,000 U.S. stores by 2014.
With News Wire Services