Russell Taylor sentenced to 27 years in prison

Russell Taylor, former executive director of the Jared Foundation, was arrested on child pornography charges in April.
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The former executive director of the Jared Foundation was sentenced to 27 years in prison after pleading guilty to child exploitation and porn charges Thursday morning in court.

The maximum sentence Russell Taylor could have received was life in prison.

Taylor ran former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle's foundation, and according to evidence, the duo conspired together and Taylor supplied Fogle with child porn.

The 44-year-old Taylor stood in front of federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, wearing a green prison jumpsuit, his hands and legs shackled with steel chains.

His family and friends watched, without emotion, as Pratt read the details of the crime.

While Taylor responded to the judge's questions with "Yes, ma'am" and "No, ma'am" answers, he stood with his head down, avoiding eye contact.

After Pratt described the crimes, she called Taylor a "repeat and dangerous" sex offender.

Taylor was emotional when he told Judge Pratt, "There has probably never been a person standing in your court that has been more remorseful. I'm asking for mercy to restore my life with my wife and children if they can forgive me. Please don't allow me to rot in a landfill of lost souls."

He also talked about Jared Fogle, saying, "I met somebody famous and rich who wanted to be my friend. I made a horrible mistake."

Taylor showed little emotion in court, at times focused and attentive, at other times distant.

Read Taylor's sentencing documents here.

Former Jared Foundation director attempts suicide after federal child porn charges

The case alleges Taylor had cameras installed in his homes, secretly recording children under the age of 16 dressing, showering, and other activities. Court documents state he had several victims under the age of 12 who were his relatives and in his custody.

Evidence referenced in court includes more than 600 images of child pornography from the web found in Taylor's possession.

It was revealed in court Thursday that some of Taylor's victims' were relatives and children of close friends. Federal prosecutors argued that Taylor engaged in sexual activities with at least two of the minors and paid them afterwards. They also say he groomed some of his victims, supplying them with gifts, alcohol, marijuana and ecstasy.

The judge said she used very complicated federal sentencing guidelines in Taylor's case.

Before a short recess in court Thursday morning, she said Taylor would have faced 30 years to life in prison.

He received credit for his guilty plea, sparing his victims the trauma of a trial. He was also credited for his cooperation with authorities for the arrest of Jared Fogle, who was sentenced last month to more than 15 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors were pushing for 35 years in prison for Taylor. Defense attorneys were hoping for 15-23 years. Taylor will be 55 years old when he is released from prison and faces a lifetime of probation and supervision.

Click here to see all stories about the Jared Fogle investigation.

Statement from US attorney Josh Minkler:

United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler today announced the sentencing of Russell Taylor, 44, Indianapolis. Taylor was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt after his conviction on 12 counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of distribution of child pornography.
 
"Mr. Taylor victimized children as young as nine years old and 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.  While no sentence can undo the damage that Mr. Taylor has done, this office remains committed to working with law enforcement to identify, investigate and prosecute these defendants." 
 
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.  Investigators obtained a second search warrant for child pornography and 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.
 
As stated in court today, Taylor on multiple occasions between March 2011 and April 2015, used several 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 co-conspirator Jared Fogle (sentenced to over 15 years in federal prison November 2015) 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.  
 
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Steven D. DeBrota, who prosecuted this case for the government, Taylor must also serve a lifetime of supervised release and register as a sex offender.  Taylor remains in the custody of the US Marshal's Service until he is assigned to the Bureau of Prisons. 
 
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.  

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