Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle allegedly asked women—including prostitutes—to hook him up with children as young as 14 and even offered finder’s fees to do so, authorities now claim.
On Wednesday, prosecutors announced Fogle would plead guilty to federal child pornography and sex charges, for which he faces between five and 12 years in prison. The bombshell charges come just a month after the feds raided the weight-loss celebrity’s home in connection with another child porn investigation.
Under a plea agreement, Fogle, 37, will plead guilty to one count of distribution and receipt of child porn and one count of travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, according to authorities. He is also expected to pay a total of $1.4 million in restitution under the deal—or $100,000 apiece—to each of the 14 alleged victims in his case.
“This is about using wealth, status, and secrecy to illegally exploit children,” U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said at a press conference announcing the agreement.
Indianapolis and federal authorities said they analyzed more than 159,000 text messages, 47,000 images and 27,000 emails during the Fogle investigation.
Richard Hite, chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, said cops were “dealing with a celebrity who had access, power, and resources to do whatever he wanted. He used that to… take advantage of children.”
“I want to make sure we send a message,” Hite added. “You may hide in the confines of your home, on the Internet, your laptop, and your tablet. We will find you. We’re looking, we’re paying attention, we will find you.”
Shortly after the charges made national headlines, Fogle’s wife, Katie, filed for divorce and his family released a statement saying they were “shocked and profoundly disappointed in Jared’s abhorrent criminal behavior.”
Fogle’s downfall began with the arrest of Russell C. Taylor, the director of his children’s charity. In April, Taylor was busted on seven counts of producing and one count of possessing child porn at his current and former Indianapolis residences.
Authorities claim Taylor—who is Fogle’s best friend—gave Fogle kiddie porn from 2011 to April 2015. Taylor is accused of providing secretly recorded footage of 12 children at his home, along with commercial child porn that includes victims as young as 6 years old, prosecutors charge. Taylor is in federal custody but has not been indicted pending the Fogle probe, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Indianapolis. The deadline to indict Taylor is September 3.
Still, the sandwich shill continued to prey on children even after his buddy’s arrest. Court records show he used Internet social networking and traveled for the purpose of engaging in commercial sexual activity from 2007 to around June 23, 2015.
From 2010 to 2013, Fogle traveled to New York City to have sex with 16- and 17-year-old girls, prosecutors claim.
“A lot of them didn’t know who he was,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota. “Some of them did.”
In Indiana, the children Taylor recorded, using hidden clock cameras, were unaware they were victims, DeBrota said.
“They had no idea they were being filmed, so they had to wake up one day and find out they’d been sexually exploited because they happened to be at somebody’s house changing clothes [or] showering,” DeBrota said.
“It made it all the worse that that’s happening with a famous person,” he added, “because it draws attention to what they’ve had to go through. This is one of the reasons why they need such high restitution.”
In fact, Fogle knew the names of some of the minors depicted in Taylor’s home videos, authorities claim, and met them at social events in Indiana.
“If [Fogle] had promptly reported what he knew of these activities, then the sexually explicit material involving later victims would not have been produced,” authorities charge in the plea agreement.
In November 2012, Fogle allegedly paid a 17-year-old girl for sex at New York’s ritzy Plaza Hotel. Afterward, authorities say, he offered her money to help find him an even younger girl. Fogle allegedly said he would accept a 16-year-old, but indicated “the younger the girl, the better,” according to court papers.
Fogle allegedly bedded the victim again at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in lower Manhattan in January 2013. The girl told investigators she had sex with Fogle three other times in New York City when she was 16 years old.
The victim claimed Fogle had sex with another 16-year-old girl at a New York hotel in exchange for cash, court records reveal.
Meanwhile, the feds say they obtained audio recordings from witnesses in Florida, Georgia, and Washington State in which Fogle discussed having sex with children. The recordings were produced beginning in 2007, prosecutors say.
Police say they also found messages on Fogle’s cellphones showing he offered prostitutes in Richmond, Virginia, Kansas City, Missouri, and Las Vegas a finder’s fee to set up him with minors.
Still, it was accounts from women acquainted with Fogle that may have led to his arrest, reports indicate.
In one case, a former female Subway franchisee claimed Fogle bragged about having sex with a 16-year-old he met on Craigslist in 2008. Fogle also allegedly tried to push the franchise owner into a threesome with her underage cousin, according to Business Insider.
The woman claimed she had a sexual relationship with Fogle after meeting him at a Subway function. But she grew uncomfortable when Fogle asked her to advertise herself on Craigslist for sex with other men so that he could watch, according to an affidavit that the FBI allegedly subpoenaed in their case against Fogle.
The woman alleged Fogle also sent her lewd text messages requesting a meeting with her underage cousin. “When can we find a time for me to talk to your cousin?” Fogle asked in May 2008. Fogle later added: “Any more news with your cousin?” and “Tell me what u think about when u think of the three of us all together???”
In April of 2008, Fogle allegedly asked the woman, “How young would you like?... Would you want to have an adventure like that?”
An FBI spokeswoman declined to confirm whether the affidavit—revealed last month—was subpoenaed or part of the Fogle investigation.
Another woman, who lives in Florida, provided key information that led to the raid on Fogle’s home on July 7, federal authorities told local TV station WXIN.
The unidentified Sarasota County woman said she met Fogle 10 years ago because of his participation in the American Heart Association Walk and other events. She claimed she was so disturbed by his private comments to her that she contacted police and later wore a wire and recorded their phone chats.
“He said something to me when we were off camera and that really stuck with me. I thought to myself, ‘Did he really say that to me?’” the tipster told WWSB.
She said Fogle, who often visited local schools, allegedly told her on numerous occasions, “middle school girls are hot,” among other unseemly comments. “They weren’t jokes,” the woman said. “They were very serious.”
Last month, Fogle’s attorney, Ron Elberger, called the woman’s claims “an unrealistic fabrication with no credibility.”
“If you think about it, she says her original statement was more than 10 years ago,” Elberger told WXIN. “If any part of it was true, it would have been raised. It never happened.”