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Ex-director of Jared Fogle’s foundation agrees to guilty plea in child exploitation case

U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler, center, discuss the child pornography case against former Subway restaurant spokesman Jared Fogle after his hearing in Indianapolis in August. (Michael Conroy/AP)

The former director of Jared Fogle’s charity foundation has agreed to enter a guilty plea in connection with a child pornography investigation that ultimately involved the ex-Subway spokesman, officials announced Tuesday.

Russell Taylor of Indianapolis has agreed to plead guilty to 12 counts of child exploitation and one count of distributing and receiving child pornography.

A petition to enter a plea agreement on the case was filed this week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

“Protecting those who cannot protect themselves will always be a priority of this office,” U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said in a news release. “Adults who sexually exploit children by producing child pornography knowingly cause vast harm to their victims and should expect appropriately strong punishment.”

Taylor is accused of secretly filming children for years, court documents state.

“Taylor and Fogle discussed among themselves that Taylor was secretly producing nude images and videos of minors in Taylor’s current and former residences in the Southern District of Indiana,” court documents detailing the allegations state. “In some of those conversations, Fogle made comments approving of this activity and discussed some of these minors by name.”

The plea agreement also makes note of commercial child pornography, which was obtained over the Internet.

Investigators who raided Taylor’s home this year recovered more than 400 child pornography videos, according to authorities.

“Mr. Taylor is agreeing to a plea that contemplates the possibility of him doing a very lengthy amount of time in prison,” Taylor’s attorneys said in a statement obtained by the Indianapolis Star. “Mr. Taylor accepts whatever punishment that is handed down by the court and hopes that his admission of responsibility will help the victims and his family start to heal and move on in a positive direction.

“Mr. Taylor has also assisted the government by providing information that played a substantial role in the charges and pending convictions that are facing Mr. Fogle.”

In mid-August, Fogle agreed to a plea deal for possessing child pornography and paying for sex with underage girls. He is due back in court in November for sentencing.

Before his arrest, Fogle had long served as a spokesman for the Connecticut-based deli chain. He first appeared in ads in 2000, offering up the story of the “Subway diet,” and helping Subway position itself as an alternative to other fast-food options.

Subway has ended its relationship with Fogle and called his actions “inexcusable.”

This post has been updated.

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