Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle will plead guilty to child pornography charges and to crossing state lines to pay for sex with minors, prosecutors and defense attorneys announced after his initial appearance in federal court.
Fogle “has notified the court that he intends to plead guilty,” U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said in Indianapolis. The prosecutor described the case as a “five-year criminal scheme to exploit children.”
The plea deal, filed in court Wednesday, would see Fogle serve between five and 12½ years in prison.
The court will have to approve the agreement, in which Fogle pleads guilty to possessing and distributing child porn, and to traveling across state lines to have sex with at least two teenage girls.
Under the plea deal, the government agrees to recommend less than 13 years in prison for Fogle. Also, Fogle’s lawyers agree to ask the judge for no less than a 5-year prison term.
Fogle, 37, also will pay restitution to the 14 victims who were secretly photographed in the images possessed by Fogle or who he paid for sex. Each victim will get $100,000, funds intended for counseling, support and other assistance.
According to court documents, the charges against Fogle are related to his relationship with Russell C. Taylor, the executive director of the Jared Foundation, who was arrested more than two months ago on federal child pornography charges.
According to the plea deal and indictment:
• Between 2011 and April 2015, Fogle received from Taylor multiple pornographic images of minors engaging in sexually explicit contact.
• Fogle had conversations with Taylor about the child porn, but instead of alerting authorities, he “chose to benefit from such production by obtaining access to a significant amount of such material.”
• The images and videos were recorded by Taylor at his home through the use of hidden cameras.
• Between 2010 and February 2013, Fogle traveled from Indiana to New York to pay to have sex with minors.
• One victim told investigators she had sex with Fogle twice when she was 17 in exchange for money, once at the Plaza Hotel and once at the Ritz Carlton, both in New York City.
• The same minor also said that Fogle had sex with her three other times before 2012, when she was 16.
• Prosecutors say that text messages, travel records, hotel records and a search of Fogle’s home provided evidence of these arrangements.
• The same minor said Fogle had sex with another 16-year-old girl on another occasion.
• Prosecutors say they have talked to witnesses who can testify about conversations Fogle had with them offering a “finder’s fee” for seeking minors for him.
The agreement says Fogle will adhere to a pornography ban and sexual disorders treatment, and he will have no unsupervised visits with minors, among other requirements.
Computer monitoring will be required, too.
Wife wants to end marriage
By admitting to the crimes, Fogle is accepting responsibility and attempting to make amends, defense attorneys Ron Elberger, Andrew DeVooght and Jeremy Margolis said in a statement.
“Jared also understands that he requires significant psychiatric medical treatment and counseling. He has already begun that process by being extensively examined by a world-renowned expert in sexual conditions in order to chart a course to recovery. It is Jared’s intent and goal to become healthy again,” they said.
“Most importantly, Jared understands that he has hurt innocent people, vulnerable people, and his family. He has expressed remorse … to his loved ones, and will, when given the opportunity, express that remorse to this court and to the people he has harmed. His intent is to spend the rest of his life making amends.”
No date has been set for Fogle’s next court date, where he will formally enter a change of plea, Margolis said.
On the same day the indictment and plea deal became known, Fogle’s wife, Katie, released a statement saying she wants out of the marriage.
“Obviously, I am extremely shocked and disappointed by the recent developments involving Jared,” she said in a statement via her attorney. “I am in the process of seeking a dissolution of the marriage. My focus is exclusively on the well-being of my children.”
The family will offer no further comments.
In the brief glances that reporters got of Fogle as he entered the courthouse, it appeared he was not wearing a wedding ring.
Weight loss claim made him famous
Fogle became a household name as “Jared from Subway” after a dramatic weight loss that he attributed to eating at Subway restaurants. He became famous in 2000 when the sandwich chain released a commercial centered on his claims that he dropped about 245 pounds — from a peak weight of 425 — in one year as an Indiana University student, thanks in part to exercise and a simpler diet involving Subway subs.
The sandwich chain suspended its relationship with Fogle earlier this year after investigators raided his Indiana home.
After the charges and plea deal were revealed, Subway put out a brief statement.
“Jared Fogle’s actions are inexcusable and do not represent our brand’s values,” the company said via Twitter. “We had already ended our relationship with Jared.”
Authorities previously said that Taylor, 43, of Indianapolis, was charged in May with seven counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.
During an April search at Taylor’s home, authorities found “a cache of sexually explicit photos and videos Taylor allegedly produced by secretly filming minor children” there, federal prosecutors said in statement.
After Subway heard his story and hired him, Fogle was globetrotting from Canada to Australia, talking health and hoagies.
His celebrity grew. He was asked to serve as grand marshal in NASCAR races, and he helped ferry the Olympic torch through Indiana ahead of the Salt Lake City Games.
Fogle flipped the coin before the 2003 Fiesta Bowl and began traveling the world visiting troops. In 2006, the same year he started the Jared Foundation, he penned a memoir, “Jared, the Subway Guy: Winning Through Losing: 13 Lessons for Turning Your Life Around.”
This fame helped him become one of the biggest — and most effective — faces in advertising, according to a 2013 study by Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics, which monitors 120 eateries’ brands on attributes including image and customer loyalty, according to Advertising Age.
CNN’s Eliott McLaughlin, Tanika Gray, Chuck Johnston and Dana Ford contributed to this report.