Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle was sentenced Thursday to more than 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges related to child pornography and sexual conduct involving minors.
Fogle faced two counts: traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and distribution and receipt of child pornography.
"How do you plead to the charges?" U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt asked Fogle on Thursday at the federal courthouse in Indianapolis,according to the Indianapolis Star.
"Guilty," Fogle replied.
Pratt sentenced him to 15 years and eight months behind bars, according to the Associated Press.
The news service reported that prosecutors had recommended a 12½-year sentence.
"The level of perversion and lawlessness exhibited by Mr. Fogle is extreme," the judge said, according to the Star.
The AP reported that Fogle's family grew emotional as Pratt announced the sentence.
Some of Fogle's family members in the courtroom started crying and hugging each other when he ordered taken into immediate custody.
Federal marshals had Fogle remove his suit jacket, tie and belt before they handcuffed him behind his back. Fogle blew kisses to relatives as he was led away.
Fogle's attorney had announced in August that his client would enter a guilty plea to the charges, which came after a raid at the ex-sandwich pitchman's Indiana home.
Court documents released earlier this year detailed the allegations against Fogle. The documents claimed that he had used Web sites to solicit commercial sex and that he had traveled to engage in sexual acts with minors. Authorities also believe that Fogle received images and videos of nude children from the former executive director of his charity foundation.
That man, Russell Taylor, has agreed to plead guilty to child exploitation and child pornography charges.
Before his sentencing, Fogle delivered a statement in which he apologized for his actions, the Star reported.
Fogle's voice cracked and he sobbed as he said, "Not a day will go by when I don't think about what I did to (the victims)."
"Members of my family are also victims of my acts," he said before noting that his wife will be a single mother.
"You gave your wife $7 million, so she'll be OK," the judge said, interrupting.
Fogle - who said he lost more than 200 pounds by exercising and eating Subway sandwiches - had long served as spokesman for Subway, as the story of his diet helped the Connecticut-based sandwich chain market itself as a healthier option.
But after Fogle's home in Zionsville, Ind., was raided in July, Subway announced that the company and Fogle had "mutually agreed to suspend their relationship." When a report about the federal charges emerged, Subway said that it already ended its relationship with Fogle, though it was unclear exactly when that occurred.
According to the AP, a psychiatrist who had analyzed Fogle said Thursday that the 38-year-old suffers from hypersexuality, "mild pedophilia" and alcohol abuse and dependency.
John Bradford, a professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada, testified by phone Thursday "that Fogle appears to have had a compulsive eating disorder and that he began to develop hypersexuality shortly after losing weight," the AP reported.
According to AP:
Bradford says Fogle told him he had sex with minors age 16 and 17 and had "a fairly extensive history" of using prostitutes. He says Fogle told him he masturbated to fantasies about prepubescent girls, but that there's no evidence he acted on them.
According to the Star, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota said in court Thursday that Fogle "can't control his demons."
"For most of my adult life, I've been in the spotlight, trying to be a role model," Fogle told the judge Thursday, according to the Star. "â€¦I became dependent on alcohol, pornography and prostitutes."