Jared Fogle’s Best Friend Allegedly Filmed Child Porn for Him
Subway spokesman Jared Fogle and the head of his children’s charity, Russell Taylor—who is facing federal child-porn charges—have been buddies for years, friends told The Daily Beast. Indeed, Fogle allegedly handpicked Taylor for the job.
On Wednesday, Fogle was set to plead guilty to having sex with minors and distributing and receiving child pornography himself, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
Authorities say the sandwich spokesman and his foundation head weren’t just best friends: Taylor allegedly provided Fogle with the kiddie porn—some of it made at Taylor’s home and some with victims as young as “approximately six years of age.” Fogle even allegedly referred to one victim by name to Taylor.
After Taylor’s arrest in April on child porn charges, Fogle claimed in a statement: “I was shocked to learn of the allegations against Mr. Taylor and effective immediately, the Jared Foundation is severing all ties with Mr. Taylor.”
Fogle is also accused of traveling to New York to pay for sex with at least two minors—ages 16 and 17—between 2010 and 2013 at the Plaza Hotel and Ritz Carlton Hotel.
Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of a maximum 12½ years in prison for Fogle, who agreed not to seek a sentence of less than five years, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Fogle’s demise was spelled out in early July, when FBI agents and Indiana cops raided his home, presumably as part of the ongoing Taylor probe. The raid unleashed a social media field day and prompted the fast-food behemoth to drop its longtime sandwich shill.
A friend of Taylor’s said that Fogle—who was once 425 pounds before going on his Subway sandwich diet—and his employee were close friends well before they started their business relationship.
“They were good friends before [Taylor] started working for him,” the insider told The Daily Beast. “Jared basically created a position for him to help raise funds and do the administrative stuff Jared couldn’t do. He had experience with nonprofits.”
Taylor’s lawyer declined to comment on the charges. A lawyer for Fogle did not return messages left by The Daily Beast.
Taylor has directed the Jared Foundation since May 2008, according to his LinkedIn profile. His profile also lists a short stint at the American Cancer Society and a position as the “youth market director” for the American Heart Association.
In 2013, the Jared Foundation had $127,276 in revenues but $148,244 in expenses, tax forms show. Taylor took in a $40,008 salary at the charity, which aimed to prevent childhood obesity. (There were at least two other executive directors before Taylor, tax records show.)
It’s unclear how Taylor and Fogle met. But a coach with Indiana’s Clay Youth Football League who worked with Taylor’s kids said the two men were extremely close.
“They worked together somewhere in Indianapolis,” the acquaintance told The Daily Beast. “They were best friends.”
Fogle, who catapulted to Hoosier royalty after appearing in Subway TV ads, would sometimes visit youth football games with Taylor, to help get the kids into the team spirit, the coach said.
“He gave the kids a rah-rah speech,” the drill instructor said. “We actually won the league championship that day. [Jared] gave them a motivational speech, pumped them all up, got them going.”
Taylor was known to many parents as a camera guy. Since 2011, he stood on the sidelines taking video footage of the games and of his twin boys—which he later mixed with pop and hip-hop songs and posted on YouTube.
One video shows the peewee players with a backdrop of the Phil Collins song “In the Air Tonight.” Another one features Johnny Cash singing “Hurt” before transitioning into Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie.”
“He really was doing the league a service, to be honest with you,” the coach told The Daily Beast. “He’d videotape games no one wanted to do.”
Despite Taylor’s volunteer efforts, the coach found him to be “an odd duck” and said, “Take that however you want. He was just different.”
Another friend told The Daily Beast, “He’s extremely charismatic and friendly … It’s very shocking. If it’s true, he deserves whatever he gets. But we’re going to wait and see what plays out.”
One angry football mom had harsher words for Taylor, calling him a “sick fuck” on Facebook after news broke of the raid on Fogle’s house. “Man I’m so glad I never let my son come to your home with your children. Just goes to show you, you cannot trust anyone,” she wrote.
The details in Taylor’s federal complaint paint a stomach-churning scene. According to the complaint, memory cards and hard drives at his home held 500 child-porn videos. A cache of some videos were recorded at his own home and allegedly showed children nude in a bathtub, unaware they were being recorded. Some of the recordings allegedly featured his own stepdaughter. The footage was taken in Taylor’s current and previous homes, authorities say.
“Videos of child pornography and child erotica were recovered, as were documents related to his employment as director of a foundation,” the federal criminal complaint states.
According to investigators, Taylor admitted to putting a clock radio with a hidden camera in one child’s bedroom to determine whether she was having sex with her boyfriend or stealing from his wife.
Taylor told police he hid the clock cameras in various rooms throughout the house—including the bathroom. When asked why he had placed the hidden cameras, he allegedly said, “I’ve had Nanny cams forever.”
He initially said his wife hid a camera in his step-daughter’s room, then said he wasn’t sure if he was behind that setup. “We both have set cameras up at different times,” he told investigators, according to the complaint.
Four children were secretly videotaped, including two children who were 14 to 16 years old at the time. There were also recordings of one child who was 11 to 13 years old, and another who was 9 to 11 years old, authorities say. (A source told The Daily Beast that Taylor had two boys from a previous marriage and that his wife had three children.)
Police began investigating Taylor in September 2014, when a female friend told a state trooper that Taylor offered to send her images or videos of “young girls” via text message, according to the criminal complaint.
When asked if Taylor had expressed interest in sex with children, the friend said, “Not that I can remember, but he’s the type of person that seems to be very sexually involved in whatever goes.”
The offer of images came during a flurry of text messages between the friend, Taylor and Taylor’s wife that discussed bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse and other sexual matters, the court document claims.
The friend—identified in court papers as Jane Doe—told police that Taylor asked if he and another woman could come to her property, where she boards horses, and engage in sexual activity with one of the animals.
Still, a relative of Taylor’s told WISH-TV that Fogle continued to back Taylor and helped bail him out of a county jail, where he was held pending state child-porn charges. Taylor is now in federal custody, according to the TV station—and a “for sale” sign hangs outside his Indianapolis home.
The Indianapolis Star notes that prosecutors have twice delayed filing formal against Taylor, “indicating the possibility that Taylor was cooperating with investigators.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated throughout.