Russell Taylor agrees to plea deal to child porn, exploitation

Russell Taylor, former executive director of the Jared Foundation, was arrested on child pornography charges in April.
Russell Taylor agrees to plea deal to child porn, exploitation
Russell Taylor agrees to plea deal to child porn, exploitation
Published:
Updated:

The former head of Jared Fogle's charitable foundation signed a plea deal late Friday in connection to the child pornography charges against him.

Russell Taylor, 43, agreed to plead guilty to 12 counts of child exploitation plus one count of distributing and receiving child pornography through an alleged conspiracy with Jared Fogle. If a judge accepts the plea deal, Taylor will be sentenced to 15-35 years in prison plus supervised release for the remainder of his life.

"If he gets the higher end of the penalty, there's a very good chance he doesn't ever see the light of day again," said Taylor's attorney, Brad Banks.

"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."

"I think [the plea deal] represents a good balance considering both the severity of the charges and his cooperation in the case against Mr. Fogle," Taylor's attorney told 13 Investigates.

Banks says his client pled guilty to accept responsibility and put this behind him for his family’s sake.

"It's a terrible situation. He tried to make it better by helping to stop at least someone else that was engaging in some bad stuff," Banks said. "There's certainly people that were associated with Jared that were present and around when he was engaging in what I think is unacceptable conduct in most peoples eyes."

See the plea deal here.

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 Tuesday, 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 Fogle allegedly discussed among themselves the fact that Taylor was secretly producing sexually explicit videos of minors in Taylor’s current and former residence. Fogle got access to a significant amount of that material over the time period, according to Taylor, but Fogle did not produce any of the material himself.

Read the Department of Justice's press release on the case against Taylor here.

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 said he got child porn from the internet and gave it to Fogle, 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 6 years old.

Taylor said that on multiple occasions, he gave Fogle access to the images or videos by sharing them on a computer that Taylor owned, as well as over text messages and on a thumb drive.

Jared Fogle, who was charged by the U.S. Attorney's office on August 19, also signed a plea agreement and has a November 19 sentencing date.

A sentencing date for Taylor has not yet been set.

Click here for full coverage of the Jared Fogle investigation.

Filed under: