INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 10, 2015) — Russell Taylor, former head of Jared Fogle’s Jared Foundation, was sentenced to 27 years in prison plus lifetime supervised release Thursday.
Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said his cooperation in the Fogle case kept him from serving more time. Federal prosecutors had asked for Taylor to serve 35 years. He pleaded guilty to 12 counts of producing child pornography and a count of distributing child pornography.
During the sentencing hearing, the defense called Dr. Robin Kohli to the stand as a witness. Kohli examined Taylor on November 9 and conducted several tests to determine whether he was a pedophile and to determine his risk for reoffending.
Kohli says Taylor told her he is not sexually attracted to children, and the only reason he produced child porn was so he could give it to Fogle. He told her that he was afraid of losing his house and his job if he didn’t give Fogle the porn.
Kohli diagnosed Taylor with dependent personality disorder, meaning he seeks out dependent relationships where someone can control him. She says this is evident by the fact that Fogle asked Taylor to call him “Daddy.”
“With regard to 4 of the 12 victims, the child porn was produced my Mr. Taylor and was never given to Mr. Fogle. He never got it,” said lead prosecutor Steven DeBrota.
Kohli went as far to say that Taylor showed symptoms of “Stockholm Syndrome.” That’s because Taylor was still worried about Fogle and didn’t want anything to happen to him up until his sentencing. Kohli described it as very strange.
Kohli concluded that Taylor shows a very low risk of reoffending. “I think he could definitely be a safe, contributing member of society,” said Kohli.
Judge Pratt said Taylor and Fogle “knew right from wrong” and “shared a mutual perversion” during the sentencing hearing. Taylor cried throughout Thursday’s proceedings as he attempted to explain his actions.
“I thought my acts would stay hidden,” he said. “But I was wrong. I’ve shamed my family and friends.”
Taylor said he’s “fallen asleep in a pool of tears” every night since April and that the judge would never find “someone more remorseful” than he is. He told the court he’d gotten away from God and repented his sins. And the Lord has forgiven him.
“It’s my return to the Lord that that led me to plead guilty and take responsibility for my actions,” he said. “I would like to use my notoriety for the good and bring attention to child sex abuse.”
“I mean he made a legit suicide attempt and nearly died. In terms of his despair, I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s in great despair,” said Taylor’s attorney Brad Banks.
Taylor went on to say that the amount of hurt in his heart would be no more if he spent one day in prison or 10,000 days in prison. Ironically, 10,000 days is just a little over the equivalent of 27 years.
“In the past seven months I’ve been called so many names. But mainly, I’m just a guy who was so lonely for so long. And then I met someone who was famous and rich, and he wanted to be my friend,” said Taylor.
Taylor’s attorney called the sentence fair. As part of the plea deal, Taylor is not allowed to appeal his sentence.
“I don’t think Taylor is happy, but he’s satisfied the judge made a just decision,” said Banks.
Members of Taylor’s family cried as he spoke, and they waved as he was taken away from the courtroom. Prosecutors simply hope the sentences for both Taylor and Fogle sends a strong message to the community.
Fogle, the ex-Subway spokesman, was sentenced to more than 15 years last month in a case that drew national attention.