A federal judge acted properly in sentencing former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle to more than 15 years in prison, prosecutors said in a response to his appeal in which they cited text messages illustrating his multiple efforts to find teenagers for sex.
The brief filed Monday with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago follows Fogle's appeal of the 188-month sentence he received in the sexual conduct and child pornography case that ended his career as a spokesman for the restaurant chain.
Fogle's attorneys argued in their February brief detailing the grounds for their appeal of his sentence that a federal judge abused her authority by giving him a sentence three years longer than the maximum prosecutors had sought.
The government's response includes texts Fogle exchanged with adult escorts, some of which were read aloud during his November sentencing.
In one, the former Zionsville resident asks, "Did you find me some young girls or boys?" while in a different exchange he tells one escort, "I'll pay you big for a 14- or 15-year-old."
In yet another text, when an escort asks Fogle why he's looking for teenagers, he replies, "Cause it's what I crave!" and offers her $300 if she can find him a 15-year-old girl for sex.
Fogle, 38, admitted paying for sex at New York City hotels with two girls who were 16 or 17 years old and receiving some child pornography produced by Russell Taylor, the former director of his Indianapolis-based anti-obesity charity.
He pleaded guilty to one count each of distributing and receiving child pornography and traveling out of state to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. As part of his plea deal, Fogle agreed not to seek less than five years in prison and prosecutors agreed not to seek more than 12-1/2 years.
Prosecutors said in their Monday reply that U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt's sentencing decision was "procedurally proper."
"Of course, the government did not agree to any specific sentence but only to place a limit on the sentence it would recommend to the court," they wrote.
Prosecutors also said the judge acted "permissibly and reasonably" in considering elements of the case against Fogle that included conduct for which he was not charged, including his pursuit of younger teenagers.
The government also said Fogle could have stopped Taylor from secretly filming some minors with hidden cameras as they were nude, changing clothes or engaged in other activities. Instead, prosecutors said, Fogle encouraged Taylor to produce additional child pornography, including of children Fogle had met.
Fogle received photos or videos from Taylor of eight of those 12 youths, with some of girls as young as 12.
Besides the prison time, Fogle paid $1.4 million in restitution to 14 victims, as required by his plea agreement. Each received $100,000.
Taylor, 44, was sentenced in December to 27 years in prison after pleading guilty to 12 counts of child exploitation and one count of distributing child pornography.