Subway Restaurants’ former spokesman Jared Fogle was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison, three years more than the maximum sought by the government, after pleading guilty to child-pornography charges in a deal that imposes lifetime supervision on the fallen sandwich pitchman.
His sentencing Thursday in Indianapolis federal court largely ends a scandal that shook the sandwich shop chain, which benefited from its long-running “Eat Fresh” campaign but has struggled of late with declining sales. Fogle shot his first Subway commercial in 2000 and became a prominent figure with ads highlighting a personal story of losing weight on a diet primarily consisting of the chain’s sandwiches.
In 2006, he started the Jared Foundation, which raised money to fight the spread of childhood obesity. In July, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Indiana State Police raided his home, a move that followed the arrest in May of the Jared Foundation’s former executive director, Russell Taylor.
Fogle was charged with accepting video and pictures of 12 minor girls engaged in sexual acts allegedly recorded by Taylor with hidden cameras. Fogle had met many of the girls socially in the Indianapolis area, according to prosecutors. The U.S. also alleged Taylor gave Fogle child pornography from overseas involving victims as young as 6 years old.
Fogle was also charged with crossing state lines to engage in sexual acts with minors, having traveled to New York to meet two girls in Manhattan hotels. As part of the plea deal last month, he faced as long as 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors and Fogle’s lawyer asked the judge for a sentence of at least five years and less than 12 years and seven months.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in Indianapolis handed down the sentence Thursday.
Subway cuts ties
Subway cut ties with Fogle after the raid of his home. But even with the scandal behind it, the sandwich chain faces other challenges.
The Milford, Conn.-based company used its “Eat Fresh” campaign to fuel growth – it now has about 27,000 U.S. locations. More recently, however, the company has been suffering declining sales and increased competition from rivals including Panera and Jimmy John’s. And in September, Subway’s chief executive officer and co-founder Fred DeLuca died.
Last month, the chain joined many of its competitors by announcing it will switch to meat raised without antibiotics, beginning early next year in the U.S. The change, which will be phased in over the next decade, is part of a broader strategy to maintain its image as the go-to healthy fast-food option and adjust to shifting consumer tastes.