Jared Fogle charged with child pornography distribution and repeatedly engaging in commercial sex acts with minors
Fogle notifies U.S. District Court that he will plead guilty as charged
Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today the filing of formal charges against Jared S. Fogle for distributing and receiving child pornography, and conspiring to do so, as well as repeatedly traveling to engage in commercial sex acts with underage minors. Fogle, 37, of Zionsville, Indiana, was charged by Information and has notified the U.S. District Court that he will plead guilty to all charges. He had his initial appearance before a magistrate judge earlier today and was released on home detention with GPS monitoring and other conditions. The case was the result of a joint state, local and federal investigation by the Indiana State Police, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with assistance from the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.
According to Minkler, “Mr. Fogle has admitted in court pleadings that he received child pornography involving multiple minors living in Indiana and other countries over the course of several years. His child pornography crime began when he learned that alleged co-conspirator Russell Taylor was sexually exploiting a 14 year old girl in March 2011. At that time, Mr. Fogle did nothing to stop the abuse or report it to authorities, but chose instead to receive and repeatedly view the child pornography involving the girl and those other minors produced by his alleged co-conspirator in the years that followed. It total, Mr. Fogle admitted in court pleadings filed today that his actions caused the sexual victimization of a total of 12 minors in Indiana before his co-conspirator’s arrest in April 2015. He preyed on minor victims who did not have the ability to protect themselves.”
Minkler further explained, “Mr. Fogle has also admitted in court papers that he repeatedly traveled to other states to engage in commercial sex acts with victims he knew were underage minors. This criminal conduct began years before his child pornography activities and did not involve Taylor. Such activities have devastating effects in the lives of minors subjected to such sex trafficking. Federal law provides strong punishment for engaging in commercial sex acts with minors under the age of 18 years or producing child pornography involving any minor under the age of 18 years. We will remain steadfast in our dedication to protecting children from offenders like him.”
According to the detailed charging Information and the admitted facts contained in Plea Agreement, between March of 2011, and January of 2015, Russell C. Taylor (who was federally charged in a separate case in May 2015) allegedly produced child pornography involving 12 minor victims in Indiana. Taylor secretly produced the images and videos of these minors, who were between 9 and 16 years old. The victims were filmed in Taylor’s house using multiple hidden cameras which were concealed in clock radios and positioned so they would capture the victims changing clothes, showering, bathing or engaging in other activities. Taylor allegedly then shared some of these images and videos with Fogle, who knew the victims were minors. During conversations and text messages with Taylor, Fogle made comments approving of the activity and discussed some of the minors by name. However, Fogle did not receive all of the material Taylor allegedly produced.
Fogle also allegedly received commercially produced child pornography videos from Taylor, who allegedly obtained the material through internet sources. The videos were made outside of the United States by other persons and showed the sexual abuse of victims as young as six years old. Fogle viewed some of these video files on a computer provided by Taylor as well as through text messages and a thumb drive. On one occasion, Fogle allegedly displayed some of these videos to another person using a thumb drive provided by Taylor.
From 2007 until June of 2015, Fogle repeatedly engaged in Internet social networking and traveled to other states for the purpose of engaging in commercial sexual acts with at least two underage minors. He did this using an email account, social networking websites containing advertisements for escorts or erotic services, online messaging, and text messages. On November 3, 2012, Fogle traveled to New York City and engaged in commercial sexual acts with a 17 year old female. This occurred at the Plaza Hotel, where Fogle was staying. The following day, Fogle sent text messages to the victim offering to pay her a fee, if she could find another underage girl to have sex with him. During the text discussions, Fogle stated he would accept a 16 year old girl, while indicating the younger the better.
On December 27, 2012, Fogle sent text messages to the same 17 year old victim, offering a fee if she could find a young minor to engage in sex. He provided the victim with an email address and asked her to send him pictures of herself. She complied and sent three, two of which were pornographic. Fogle acknowledged receiving the photos and expressed his approval.
In January 2013, Fogle engaged in commercial sex with the same victim at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York City, where he was staying. The victim provided Fogle with her true age when they first met and he knew that she was not yet 18 years old. The meetings with the victim were arranged through Internet communication and text messages to discuss sexually explicit details and financial terms.
Court filings also stated that Fogle engaged in commercial sex acts with a second underage minor in New York City. At other times, Fogle offered to pay adult prostitutes a finder’s fee if they could provide him underage minors for commercial sex acts with him, including minors as young as 14-15 years old.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said, “This entire investigation started with one lone tip to a state police officer. From that point the full resources of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force were brought to bear. This included investigators and forensic examiners from the state police, the Indianapolis Metro PD and the FBI.” Carter concluded, “This clearly demonstrates celebrity status does not serve as a shield from criminal prosecution, especially when such despicable crimes are perpetrated against children.”
“In our society, children are our most precious resource,” said IMPD Chief Rick Hite. “It is our collective responsibility to protect them from predators and bring to justice anyone who causes them hurt, harm, or danger.”
“As with all child pornography cases, the FBI investigates these cases with a sense of urgency due to the extreme vulnerability of the victims involved; our children,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge, W. Jay Abbott. “This case demonstrates that commitment to investigate those who would possess child pornography. The FBI looks forward to continuing its work on such matters with the United States Attorney’s Office, the Indiana State Police and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.”
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Steven D. DeBrota, who is prosecuting the case for the government, under the terms of the plea agreement, Fogle faces a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 5 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $500,000, and supervised release after serving his prison sentence for at least 5 years and up to the remainder of his life. There is no agreed sentence in the case and the government may request of up to 151 months of imprisonment. However, Fogle may not request a sentence below 5 years of imprisonment.
The Plea Agreement also requires Fogle to pay a total of $1,400,000 in restitution to the 14 victims in the case, 8 of whom are still minors, and forfeit assets of $50,000. This is the largest amount of restitution ever ordered for a child pornography or sex trafficking case in the history of the Southern District of Indiana. The victims will be able to use these funds to pay for counseling and treatment to combat the debilitating life effects of these crimes.
The facts stated in the Information are allegations only, and Fogle and Taylor are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. While Fogle has signed a plea agreement and notified the Court he will plead guilty as charged, the hearing to accept his plea of guilty has not yet been scheduled. He will appear before U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.