Jared Fogle Co-Defendant Formally Charged with Child Exploitation and Distribution of Child Pornography
INDIANAPOLIS—United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced that Russell C. Taylor, 43, Indianapolis, was charged by criminal information today with 12 counts of child exploitation involving 12 minor children in Indiana. He was also charged with one count of distributing and receiving child pornography through an alleged conspiracy with Jared Fogle. Taylor has filed a plea agreement with the court acknowledging his crimes.
“Protecting those who cannot protect themselves will always be a priority of this office,” said Minkler. “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, 2015, along with law enforcement officers from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI. The investigator used a mobile forensic laboratory to conduct the search of Taylor’s home. The investigators found a cache of sexually explicit photos and videos Taylor produced by secretly filming minor children at this home and they obtained a second search warrant for child pornography. In total, the investigators found over 400 videos of child pornography in computers, cellular phones, and storage media recovered from a home office. Taylor is charged with producing these videos inside his current and former Indianapolis residences using hidden cameras, during the period between March 2011 and January 30, 2015.
According to the facts Taylor admitted in the written plea agreement filed today, on multiple occasions between March 2011 and April 2015, he used multiple hidden cameras in his residences to produce child pornography involving 12 minors. He knew that the victims in these images or videos were under the age of 18 years. He also knew their identities.
Taylor and his friend Jared Fogle discussed among themselves the fact that Taylor was secretly producing sexually explicit videos of minors in Taylor’s current and former residence. Fogle chose to benefit from such production by obtaining access to a significant amount of such material over the time period. However, Fogle did not produce any of this 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.
Taylor also obtained from the Internet and provided Fogle with child pornography he downloaded from Internet sources which may be classified as commercial material produced by other persons. The unidentified victims in these commercial images and videos were as young as approximately six years of age.
During the investigation, Taylor admitted that child pornography was recovered during a search of his residence, where it was found in computer equipment, storage devices, cameras and other media analyzed by the Cybercrime Section of the Indiana State Police. This included the material involving child victims 1 through 12 as well as the commercial child pornography.
All of the images and videos included a lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of the relevant minor victim, while some material also included other sexually explicit conduct depending upon the minor involved.
On multiple occasions, Taylor provided Fogle with access to the images or videos by sharing them on a computer that Taylor owned. They frequently travel together for business trips. Taylor and Fogle were close friends. Taylor also provided Fogle with some images and videos through text messages and a thumb drive.
Jared Fogle, who was charged by this office on August 19, 2015, has signed a plea agreement and has a November 19, 2015 sentencing date before U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Steven DeBrota, who is prosecuting this case for the government, Taylor had admitted to all 13 charges. Under the terms of the plea agreement, he cannot ask the court for a sentence below 15 years of imprisonment. The government can ask for a sentence of up to 35 years of imprisonment, followed by supervised release for the remainder of Taylor’s life. However, the court will ultimately determine the sentence to impose. He is presently detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshal.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006, by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resource.”
A criminal information is only a charge. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in federal court.