Ex-director of Jared Fogle's foundation pleading guilty to child porn charges

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 01, 2015 11:15 AM

By Suzannah Gonzales

(Reuters) - The ex-head of the foundation started by former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle agreed on Tuesday to plead guilty to a dozen counts of child sexual exploitation and one count of distributing and receiving child pornography, a U.S. attorney in Indiana said.

Russell Taylor, 43, who was executive director of the Jared Foundation that focuses on child obesity, filed a petition to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Indiana and cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation.

"By pleading guilty to the charges against him, Mr. Taylor takes full responsibility for his role in this matter involving Mr. Fogle," Taylor's attorney, Brad Banks, said in a statement.

Fogle, who became famous after losing 245 pounds on a diet based on Subway sandwiches, asked a federal judge on Aug. 19 to accept a guilty plea to charges of child pornography and traveling for illicit paid sex with minors.

Subway fired Fogle when reports of the plea agreement emerged.

Under the agreement with Taylor, which must be approved by a federal judge, prosecutors will not ask for a sentence greater than 35 years, while Taylor will not seek less than a 15-year sentence.

Taylor will plead guilty to sexual exploitation of 12 minor Indiana children as young as 6 years old, said Josh Minkler, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

He will also plead guilty to one count of distributing and receiving visual images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and conspiring with Fogle to do so, the filing and Minkler said.

The filing said Taylor used hidden cameras in his homes from March 2011 to April 2015 to produce visual images and videos of minors under age 18 without their knowledge. The minors were nude, changing clothes or engaging in other conduct, according to the filing.

Investigators found pornography on computer equipment, storage devices, cameras and other media in a search of Taylor's Indianapolis residence, the filing added.

Taylor discussed the images and videos with Fogle and he shared some of the material with him, the filing said.

Taylor remains in federal custody. A court date has not been set for him to plead guilty.

The Indianapolis Star reported that Fogle sued Taylor last week for not repaying a 2014 loan used to buy an Indianapolis home where authorities say pornographic images of children were secretly recorded. Reuters has not confirmed the lawsuit.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney)