INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Jared Fogle admitted that his life devolved into “deception, lies and self-destruction” that was in part fueled by his dependence on alcohol, pornography and prostitutes.
“I will be forever remorseful. Not a day will go by that I won’t think about (the victims),” a tearful Fogle told the judge.
The former Subway pitchman blew kisses at relatives before being led away in handcuffs Thursday moments after being sentenced to more than 15 years in prison on federal child pornography charges and one count related to traveling out of state to engage in sexual conduct with minors.
Fogle’s stunning fall from being a household name to becoming the ire of the American public underscores what prosecutors say was occurring – Fogle was leading a double life.
Publicly, Fogle was the face of Subway’s brand, encouraging millions of Americans to eat well and get healthy after he lost weight eating Subway sandwiches.
But prosecutors argue that fame, fortune and notoriety allowed Fogle to live another private life – one filled with illicit behavior, spending nearly $12,000 a year on prostitutes and on several occasions, prosecutors say, offering to pay them a “finder’s fee” if they could supply him with underage girls or boys to engage in sexual acts.
“The younger, the better,” Fogle reportedly told one of the prostitutes, according to a copy of text messages read aloud by prosecutors in court Thursday.
While those requests for young victims were never fulfilled, prosecutors say Fogle did pay to have sex with 16 and 17-year-old prostitutes on more than one occasion. He also received hundreds of child pornography images from his friend and former business partner, Russell Taylor, who also pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges.
Taylor is accused of secretly recording graphic images of children in his home, whose ages ranged from nine to 16.
“(Fogle) could’ve stopped it. He could’ve prevented it. Instead, he chose to benefit from it. He paid an appropriate price for that today,” U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler told I-Team 8’s Bennett Haeberle after Fogle was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in federal prison.
When asked if Fogle’s notoriety might have played a role in his receiving a 15-year sentence (the maximum was 50 years), Minkler said: “No. No sentence, no matter how long, will take the pain away from these victims. We work with the federal sentencing law, which was followed. He did not buy his way out of this.”
Fogle has paid $1.4 million in restitution to the victims. He was also fined $175,000 in addition to his prison term. The money, the judge said, is expected to go help give money to victims of other crimes, including sexually exploited children.
Fogle’s defense attorneys had pushed for a lesser sentence of 5 years in prison, arguing that as “pathetic and passive” as Fogle’s behavior was, he didn’t produce child pornography, he simply received it. They argued that there is case law and legal precedent that made that an important distinction.
His attorney, Jeremy Margolis, also mentioned that there was a concern Fogle might be targeted or harmed by other prisoners because of the charges against him. Margolis didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
When asked about this, Minkler said, “He used his notoriety, his celebrity status, the money that came with it, the prestige, the power to get away with this crime. Because he did that. because of that, if he is treated more harshly in prison, well then, he deserves it.”
Fogle’s defense team provided expert testimony from a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. John Bradford, who examined Fogle and said that he showed signs of being both hypersexual and had signs of “weak or mild” pedophilia. It was a point that Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve DeBrota hammered on, saying there is no clinical diagnosis for “weak” pedophilia – it’s either there or it isn’t.
Dr. Bradford acknowledge that through clinical testing Fogle did show signs of being attracted to pre-pubescent girls, but that he also was attracted to girls between the ages of 14 and 17.
Bradford’s other observation was that Fogle, who had an eating disorder and gained international fame after losing it by eating Subway sandwiches, may have developed his hyper-sexuality after losing the weight.
A psychologist, Dr. Rick May, who treated Fogle for a month, said that he had shown immediate signs of accepting responsibility for his actions, which may have aided in his treatment.
“I wish we had more time. I think he needs more work and I was pleased to learn that his treatment would continue as part of his court order,” Dr. May said.
During his tearful apology before the court, Fogle told the judge: “I want to get myself healthy. Your honor, I wish I had been able to address this before I violated these victims. I take full responsibility.”
Fogle will be assigned to a prison in the federal system within the next three to four weeks, Minkler said. Currently, he is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals. A Hamilton County sheriff’s van was seen leaving the federal courthouse shortly after Fogle’s sentencing. His attorneys are hoping he’ll be placed at a federal prison south of Denver, Colorado, which specializes in treating sex offenders.