Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Thursday—months after the FBI raided his home as part of a child porn probe that also ensnared the director of his children’s charity.
Fogle showed no emotion as federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced him to 15 years and 8 months behind bars. In a deal with prosecutors, the weight-loss star pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of child pornography and traveling across state lines for commercial sex with a minor.
“This defendant was obsessed with child porn,” Pratt fumed during the proceedings in Indianapolis federal court, adding that Fogle “was living a double life, and for many of those years was living in a web of lies and depravity.”
“Federal judges do not sentence based on emotion or public sentiment. The level of perversion and lawlessness exhibited by Mr. Fogle is extreme,” she added of the former spokesman, who is charged with watching homemade kiddie porn from Russell Taylor, the former head of the Jared Foundation.
The hearing repeated the shocking allegations that sealed Fogle’s demise: He had more than 600 images of child porn—which included minors as young as 6; he had sex with 16- and 17-year-old girls who were victims of trafficking; and spent a minimum of $12,000 a year on prostitutes.
Fogle, 38, used his wealth to travel to New York City and pay for sex with the teenage girls, whom he met at the Ritz-Carlton and Plaza hotels.
He went as far as offering an 18-year-old Las Vegas prostitute a $400 finder’s fee to procure an even younger victim. “Did you find me some young girls or boys?” he asked the woman in a text message, according to a detective’s testimony.
Last month, a former Florida journalist appeared on the Dr. Phil show to reveal secretly taped audio of Fogle discussing sex with children. In one recording, Fogle discussed how he could lure a child away from a pool party.
The prison-bound sandwich celebrity choked up as he made his first public comments about the case in court Thursday.
“Where do I even try to begin, your honor? For most of my adult life, I’ve been in the spotlight, trying to be a positive role model for others,” Fogle said.
The former spokesman claimed he was raised with good values, but “something changed” that led to his lust for teenagers. “I have become dependent on alcohol, pornography, and prostitutes,” Fogle claimed.
“At the time I truly did not think through what I was doing. Nor did I think about the consequences of my actions,” he said.
Fogle sobbed as he told the judge, “Not a day will go by when I don’t think about what I did to [the victims],” according to the Indianapolis Star.
“Members of my family are also victims of my acts,” he continued, adding that his wife is now a single mother. Judge Pratt interrupted, “You gave your wife $7 million, so she’ll be OK.”
After the four-hour proceeding, Fogle blew kisses and waved goodbye to his family members seated in the front row. A U.S. Marshal then led him away in handcuffs.
The sentence exceeded the 12½ years called for by prosecutors and the five years his defense team requested. Pratt said a lower sentence did “not sufficiently account for the scope of the defendant’s criminal conduct.”
Earlier in the hearing, Fogle’s attorneys suggested his rise to fame—as an obese Indiana University student who shed 245 pounds on a diet of Subway—contributed to his obsession with minors. One of his attorneys, Jeremy Margolis, said Fogle “traded a horrible food addiction for a horrible sex addiction.”
Margolis said Fogle witnessed the “crashing and burning of his life” but has demonstrated a “steadfast commitment to get well,” the Star reported.
When Judge Pratt snapped, “Why didn’t he do that years ago?” the attorney replied he didn’t know, but a psychiatrist hired by Fogle’s legal team said if he had received help and had been put on the antidepressant Zoloft, “this wouldn’t have happened.”
University of Ottawa forensic psychiatrist John Bradford testified in court via phone that he diagnosed Fogle with “mild pedophilia.” He said Fogle’s sex drive may have been affected by his eating disorder.
“Once he lost weight, it seemed as though in a short time he had hyper-sexuality,” Bradford said. “There are brain disorders that can be associated with sexual drive.”
Bradford claimed Fogle denied ever touching children, and said that he only had fantasies about 12- and 13-year-olds and instead had eyes for older teens. “He was mostly attracted to females who were teenagers, who were 14 to 17 years of age. His attraction was at the high end of that range,” the psychiatrist said.
Still, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota pushed for a tougher sentence because Fogle “enthusiastically” participated in Taylor’s child-porn scheme and did nothing to stop it. Indeed, the sandwich shill indicated he recognized one girl in a photo by her nude torso.
“Jared Fogle absolutely knew these victims,” DeBrota said. “He knew they were going to be with Mr. Taylor. He knew what was going to happen.”
DeBrota called Taylor a “monster” that Fogle “helped cause.”
“He can’t control his demons,” DeBrota told Judge Pratt of Fogle. “I hope some day he can. We only know what he can do once he’s caught.”
In August, Fogle agreed to plead guilty and pay $100,000 each to 14 victims—some of whom he’d met at social events in Indiana and who later showed up in the explicit footage created by Taylor.
Taylor, who helmed the Jared Foundation from 2008 until his arrest in April 2015, is accused of placing hidden cameras around his home to secretly record minors as young as 9 years old, according to court documents.
He told cops he placed clock radios with hidden cameras in the bathroom and other rooms throughout his home. One camera was stashed in his stepdaughter’s room to determine if she was stealing from his wife or having sex with her boyfriend.
Fogle’s plea deal came one month after the feds descended on his suburban Indianapolis home and sparked a national spectacle. His life and career were shattered, with the Subway chain immediately dumping him and his wife, Katie, filing for divorce.
In July, sources told The Daily Beast that Fogle and Taylor were “best friends” and that Fogle handpicked his buddy for the charity role. Taylor also reached a plea deal and awaits sentencing next month.