The former director of an Indianapolis-based foundation created by ex-Subway pitchman Jared Fogle will spend from 15 years to 35 years behind bars for child sex crimes, according to a plea agreement reached Tuesday with federal prosecutors.
Russell Taylor, 44, agreed to plead guilty to 12 counts of child exploitation and one count of distributing and receiving child pornography.
Taylor, of Indianapolis, led the Jared Foundation, which allegedly was founded to raise awareness and money to fight childhood obesity.
Information provided by prosecutors said Russell sexually exploited 12 minor children in Indiana. Some of the children depicted in videos Taylor shared with Fogle were as young as 6, authorities said, ranging to age 14.
The information said some of the children were related to Taylor. He and Fogle were close friends who were in contact daily and frequently traveled together on business trips, the information said.
Between March 2011 and January 2015, Taylor secretly recorded the children at his home, according to a statement issued by Josh Minkler, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Taylor’s plea agreement allows the court to sentence him to no less than 15 years in prison and no more than 35. The advisory sentence will be not less than 30 years, according to the agreement.
After the sentence, he will remain on supervised release for the remainder of his life.
Fogle, of Zionsville, has agreed to plead guilty to allegations that he paid for sex with a minor and received child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 19 by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. Fogle faces a prison sentence of five years to 12-1/2 years in prison under his agreement.
Federal judges have wide discretion in sentencing, and Fogle could get a longer sentence. The child-porn charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The count involving sex with a minor is punishable by up to 30 years.
“Protecting those who cannot protect themselves will always be a priority of this office,” Minkler said in a written statement. “Adults who sexually exploit children by producing child pornography knowingly cause vast harm to their victims and should expect appropriately strong punishment.”
Indiana State Police detectives received information that Taylor was in possession of illegal pornographic images and served a search warrant at his home on April 29, along with law enforcement officers from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI. They found a cache of sexually explicit photos and videos Taylor produced by secretly filming the children at this home.
Executing a warrant, investigators found more than 400 videos of child pornography in computers, cell phones, and storage devices.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Taylor and Fogle discussed the fact that Taylor was secretly producing sexually explicit videos of minors. Fogle obtained access to a significant amount of the material over the time period, but did not produce any of the material himself.
None of the minors in the videos were aware that they were being filmed. Rather, Taylor produced the videos using multiple hidden cameras set up in his residences and oriented to show them nude, changing clothes, or engaged in other activities, the statement said.
Taylor also obtained from the Internet and provided Fogle with child pornography produced by other people. The unidentified victims in these commercial images and videos were as young as approximately 6 years old.
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Steven DeBrota, who is prosecuting this case for the government, Taylor admitted to all 13 charges.
In a separate case, Fogle is suing Taylor for allegedly defaulting on a $191,000 personal loan to buy an Indianapolis home. Fogle claims in the lawsuit filed last week that Taylor since May has not made monthly payments of $850 that were called for in a land contract dated March 10, 2014. Taylor owed $184,400 as of Aug. 17.