Wednesday 18 September 2019

Former Subway chief jailed for more than 15 years for child pornography

Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle arrives at the federal courthouse in Indianapolis, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015
Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle arrives at the federal courthouse in Indianapolis, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015

The man who emerged from obscurity to become the unlikely face of one of America's biggest restaurant chains has been jailed for more than 15 years for trading in child pornography and paying for sex with underage girls.

Jared Fogle, who, according to his lawyer, has become "one of the most despised individuals in America", earned a fortune by becoming a pitchman for Subway and touting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle that included the chain's sandwiches.

He sought leniency, apologising to his victims and telling the Indianapolis court in a tearful statement that he was raised with good values by a good family, but succumbed to self-centred "deception and lies".

But Judge Tanya Pratt was unmoved and gave him a harsher sentence than the 12 and a half years that prosecutors had sought. She also ordered him to undergo a lifetime of post-prison supervision and fined him 175,000 dollars (£115,000).

Fogle, 38, said he wished he had realised long ago that he had a problem.

He told the judge: "I had become dependent on alcohol, pornography and prostitutes. I want to redeem my life. I want to become a good, decent person. I want to rebuild my life."

Judge Pratt said: "What a gift, to have such a professional windfall fall in your lap," referring to the lucrative deal Subway gave Fogle after he lost more than 14 stone in college, partly by eating its sandwiches.

But she said Fogle blew the chance he had been given by living a double life and pointed out that the crimes he committed were not victimless.

"The level of perversion and lawlessness exhibited by Mr Fogle is extreme," she said. She recommended Fogle receive sex offender treatment in prison and said she would recommend he serve his time at a federal jail in Littleton, Colorado, that specialises in such treatment.

The father of two blew kisses to crying relatives as he was led from the court in handcuffs,

He pleaded guilty to one count each of travelling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and distribution and receipt of child pornography, in a deal he struck with prosecutors in August, a month after authorities raided his suburban Indianapolis home.

In arguing for a five-year prison term, his lawyer Jeremy Margolis told the judge Fogle was ready for prison and had "lost his wife, he's lost the children he loved and he's not going to see them for years and years and years".

"No one wants to be Jared Fogle. He is one of the most despised individuals in America."

Assistant US attorney Steven DeBrota, who handled Fogle's prosecution, said he was pleased with the sentence and said the judge made "a thoughtful explanation of why she thought the right answer was 188 months".

The hearing offered new details about Fogle's transgressions and his life in recent months.

John Bradford, a professor of forensic psychiatry at the University of Ottawa in Canada, said by phone that he analysed Fogle in August and concluded he suffered from hypersexuality, mild paedophilia, and alcohol abuse and dependency.

He said Fogle told him that he had "a fairly extensive history" of using prostitutes for sex for which he paid a minimum of about 12,000 dollars (£8,000) a year for sex. He also said Fogle's main interest was young women but he also had some interest in adolescent boys.

He also said Fogle told him he had fantasies about pre-pubescent girls but there was no evidence he "actually engaged in sex" with such children.

Prof Bradford said Fogle apparently had a compulsive eating disorder before he lost all of the weight that led to him becoming the face of Subway, and that his hypersexuality seemed to develop shortly after he shed the extra pounds.

Under federal rules, Fogle must serve 85% of his sentence, which means more than 13 years in prison. Fogle can appeal against the sentence, but not his conviction under his guilty plea.

In his plea deal, Fogle admitted that he had sex at New York City hotels with two girls under 18 - one of whom was 16 at the time - and paid them. He also acknowledged receiving child pornography produced by Russell Taylor, the former executive director of The Jared Foundation, a non-profit Fogle started to raise awareness and money to fight childhood obesity.

Authorities said Taylor secretly filmed 12 minors as they were nude, changing clothes, or engaged in other activities using hidden cameras in his Indianapolis-area homes to produce child pornography.

Taylor has agreed to plead guilty to child exploitation and child pornography charges and faces a December 10 hearing on those charges.

Fogle agreed to pay a total of 1.4 million dollars to his 14 victims, with each receiving $100,000 (£66,000).

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