Russell Taylor, a former friend and associate of Subway pitchman Jared Fogle, learned his fate on Thursday after pleading guilty to a dozen counts of producing child porn.
According to the Indy Star, the 44-year-old Indianapolis native made a tearful plea to Judge Tanya Walton Pratt not to sentence him to the maximum sought by the prosecution: 35 years in jail.
“I’ve been falling asleep in a puddle of tears every night… crying out to God,” Taylor said.
“I’m begging for mercy for a lenient sentence,” Taylor added, saying he wanted to be back with his family “while I’m of age and health to be of some service to them.” He also said he has been “internationally disgraced” and wants to use his notoriety to advocate against child pornography.
“Please do not leave me to rot in a landfill of lost souls,” he pleaded tearfully.
The “tearful plea” came days after the revelation of the extent Russell had gone to in order to provide sexually explicit materials involving children for Jared. Police testimony revealed that Taylor had set up cameras in order to capture underage victims — including young relatives — nude, or in any otherwise “sexually explicit” manner. His victims were said to be as young as nine.
Russell Taylor had 12 victims in all, each representing a single count of producing child porn. He faced charges for their exploitation following the April raid on his home. The event turned up 400 photos and videos created by Taylor, who was also hit with a distribution charge.
Russell eventually pled guilty to each of the charges against him, hoping that his cooperation in the arrest and conviction of Jared would spare him the harshest sentence possible. Brad Banks, Russell Taylor’s lawyer, agreed that his client deserved a longer sentence than Jared Fogle. However, he stressed that his client had psychological issues going back to his childhood that made him vulnerable to manipulation by the former Subway pitchman. Banks also hoped that his client’s cooperation with authorities would work in his favor.
Fogle was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in prison in late November and ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution.
— NBC Chicago (@nbcchicago) December 10, 2015
Ultimately, Judge Pratt decided on a 27-year sentence to Russell Taylor. In addition to the prison term, the Associated Press reports that he will be under lifetime supervision once released from jail. Taylor will also have to register as a sex offender.
People magazine wrote that the term was longer than the 15 to 23 years sought by his attorneys, but’s it’s shorter than the maximum hoped for by prosecutors. As such, Russell’s lawyer considered it a “fair sentence.” Tim Horty, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis, told People that prosecutors were also content with the sentence handed down by Pratt.
“Mr. Taylor victimized children as young as nine years old. Protecting those young folks is one of our highest priorities in this office.”
With both Jared Fogle and Russell Taylor behind bars, many would assume this sentencing represents the end of the ugly scandal. However, that may not be the case. During the “contentious” three-hour and 40-minute hearing, testimony was given by law enforcement officials that suggested others may be tried and convicted in the coming months.
IMPD detective Darin Odie declined to discuss details about Russell Taylor’s wife because of an “ongoing investigation.” During the trial, it emerged that she may have helped Russell set up cameras that would be used to take sexually exploitative images of young children. Video evidence is said to exist that confirms this possibility.
Police are also thought to be investigation associates of Jared and Russell who were part of their charitable organization.
— FOX59 News (@FOX59) December 10, 2015
As for Russell Taylor, although his tearful plea and show of remorse helped him avoid the maximum, Judge Pratt made it clear before handing down her sentence that she didn’t buy his claims of being a “pawn” that was psychologically abused and manipulated by Jared Fogle into breaking the law. She said that the two men betrayed the trust of children they were supposed to be protecting.
“The awful reality is these defendants knew right from wrong.”
[Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department via AP]