Subway Restaurants’ former spokesman Jared Fogle agreed to plead guilty to federal child-pornography charges six weeks after his Indiana home was raided by the FBI, completing a rapid fall from one-time sandwich shop icon.
Wearing a black suit, Fogle answered only yes and no to questions posed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Dinsmore at a hearing Wednesday in Indianapolis. He agreed to a deal with prosecutors, admitting to two counts including conspiracy to distribute and receive visual depictions of minors.
Released with electronic monitoring as a condition, Fogle faces a maximum 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing. Prosecutors and Fogle’s lawyer agreed to a sentence range of 5 to 12 years.
“He preyed on minor victims who did not have the ability to protect themselves,” Indianapolis U.S. Attorney Joshua Minkler said.
Fogle shot his first Subway commercial in 2000 and became a prominent spokesman for the chain. His ads highlighted a personal story of losing weight on a diet primarily consisting of the company’s sandwiches.
In 2006, he started the Jared Foundation, which raised money to fight the spread of childhood obesity.
Last month, the FBI and Indiana State Police raided Fogle’s home and removed electronics following the arrest in May of the Jared Foundation’s former executive director, Russell Taylor.
Fogle was subsequently charged with accepting video and pictures of 12 minor girls engaged in sexual acts allegedly produced or acquired by Taylor. Fogle had met many of the girls socially in the Indianapolis area, according to prosecutors.
The U.S. also said Taylor gave Fogle child pornography from overseas involving victims as young as 6.
Fogle was also charged with crossing state lines to engage in sexual acts with minors, having allegedly traveled to New York City to meet two girls in Manhattan hotels.
Subway cut ties with Fogle after the raid of his home.
“We have already ended our relationship with Jared and have no further comment,” Subway said in a statement. The company called Fogle’s actions “inexcusable” in a subsequent comment posted on Twitter Inc.
Fogle’s lawyer said his client will pay restitution to his victims as part of the plea, and seek psychiatric treatment.
“While Jared fully recognizes that such monetary contribution will not undo the harm he has caused, he is hopeful it will assist these individuals as they try to move forward with their lives,” attorney Jeremy Margolis said in an e-mailed statement.