I’m the man who knows too much. Want to know why? It is because the practice of criminal law has shown me that there is a breed of normal looking sicko that creeps all over our society in huge numbers, more so than you could ever imagine. While most people imagine a sex offender looks disheveled with a deranged look on his face, my image is of a normal looking suburbanite. He is probably coaching your kid’s soccer team as you read this.
Don’t be fooled by his cotton Dockers, boat shoes, and friendly demeanor. I know he has a job, drives a minivan, and his wife is just the nicest lady. I don’t care that he is a respected member of your fill-in-the-blank religious organization. When he is home alone, he masturbates obsessively to videos of children being raped. In fact, he will probably do that later tonight after coaching soccer.
This article will provide you with the real court documents filed in Jared Fogle’s case as well as discuss some of the disturbing realities of sex offender litigation in the courts.
The Reality of Sex Offenders
Parents, its time to get a clue. I am a criminal defense lawyer and I am the one telling you how messed up these people are. Maybe you should listen.
Think of it like this… there are infinitely more sex offenders out there who would love nothing more than to have sex with a child this very second than there are Subway franchises in this entire country. Just think how often you drive past a Subway and realize how many sex offenders you encounter on a daily basis. You just can’t pick them from a crowd because they look absolutely normal.
Stranger Danger is Bullshit
Not really, but how do you spot a sex offender? Here’s a tip – it isn’t necessarily the weirdo in a 1980’s Econoline van who wants to show your kid some puppies. That stuff happens (and kids need to be taught to distrust strangers), but it pales in comparison to the volumes of sex crimes committed by people who you and your kids already know and trust… like Fort Lauderdale little league coach David Solomon or Professor James Cavalcoli from the University of Michigan (both of whom are presently accused and have open cases, so they are presumed innocent).
However, the Jared Fogle case is the best example…
Here is the most boring, harmless looking guy in America, who has a family, a superstar career, lives in the suburbs, yet he travels to New York to have sex with teenage girls and enjoys masturbating to child pornography in private.
Didn’t see that coming, did you? In fact, it is Jared’s banality that makes his sex offenses such a shocker to the public.
People need to stop fearing the boogie man and realize that sex offenses are committed by people – actual human beings.
Frankly, with every case I see, I feel that parents and the public have the wrong idea in their heads about who commits these crimes and how they go down.
That is why it is so important for parents to take a number of basic countermeasures to protect their kids:
- Don’t assume anything. Just because someone is nice, doesn’t mean they are good.
- Teach your kids to lookout for and report inappropriate behavior like strange “games”, anything that involves touching or showing, sex talk, etc.
- Don’t shoot the messenger – kids need to know they will never get in trouble for telling you something.
- Don’t trust people with your kids. Remain vigilant and always watching.
- If you get a bad feeling about something or someone, listen to your instincts and look deeper.
Some of the most common sex offenders are people you already know. I wish I had a nickle every time I heard of a teacher, coach, religious figure, babysitter, housekeeper, or some other person who is entrusted with children who took advantage of them.
As a criminal lawyer, I am also suspect of adults that enjoy spending so much time with kids. It isn’t normal. It is one thing to coach sports or be a teacher, it is another thing to engage kids on their level and be their peer. That is where things begin to get weird and you have to wonder why.
There is no legitimate reason for a high school teacher to be texting your teenager late at night.
I have developed these senses after reading countless cases where children were victimized by people they and their parents trusted. The moral here is it isn’t just the boogie man… its that regular looking Joe you see every day.
So what did the most boring, innocent looking man in America do? According to the charging document filed by prosecutors in Federal Court this week, Jared and his cohort, Russell Taylor, were accused of committing a number of very messed up things. In a past article, we explained how police investigate child pornography cases, so we will skip that part of the discussion here and focus on what they are accused of doing.
Their criminal conduct can be broken down into three main parts:
- Production of Child Pornography
- Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography
- Interstate Travel for Sex with Minors
In the first part, a man named Russell Taylor was accused of producing child pornography. Taylor is said to be Jared’s close friend and also an employee of his charity. The two men were known to communicate on a daily basis.
In essence, Taylor set up hidden cameras in his home that were later used to capture images of 12 minor children changing their clothes, showering, bathing, and engaging in other activities. The children did not know they were being secretly filmed. Between March 2011 and January 2015, Taylor also engaged in sexual conduct with the minors while secretly filming them.
Taylor later shared this child pornography with Jared. In fact, Jared’s failure to report this matter to law enforcement when he first learned of it resulted in additional children being victimized and filmed by Taylor.
Jared Fogle not only saw the pornography, but he actually knew the children by name and even knew where some of the kids lived. In some cases, Jared had even met some of the children at social events in Indiana.
In the second part, Taylor went online and obtained child pornography produced by other unrelated persons and shared this pornography with Jared. Some of the porn was viewed on Taylor’s computer and some of it was given to Jared on thumb drives and via text message. At one point, Jared also shared the child pornography with a third person.
In the third part, Jared is accused of traveling to meet minors for sex in New York City. In one case, he met a girl while staying at The Plaza. In a second instance, he met a girl while staying at the Ritz Carlton. The charging document also accuses Jared of having a history of soliciting escorts and other people to help him find minors for sex.
Jared is doing the best he can by entering a guilty plea. In the Petition to Enter Plea of Guilty and Plea Agreement, which was filed in Federal court this week, Jared agreed to plea guilty as well as accept a defined range of incarceration. Prosecutors have agreed not to ask for a prison sentence that exceeds 151 months (12.58 years) and Jared has agreed not to ask for a prison sanction less than 60 months (5 years).
That said, the sentencing judge does not need to adhere to either recommendation. Considering the compound nature of this offense, I would not be surprised if the sentencing judge exceeded the prosecutor’s maximum.
Some people may find the maximum recommendation agreed to by prosecutors to be on the low end, but it is because his defense lawyers did very good work at controlling the hemorrhaging by cooperating with law enforcement and entering into a plea agreement before charges were formally filed. That said, it may not be enough to save the day for Jared, although it is certainly his best strategy.
Much will ultimately depend on the specific inclination of the judge and the statements made by victims and their families at sentencing, if any are made at all.
In the end, however, the ultimate take away from this case should be directed at parents. Namely, they should seriously adjust their expectations and understanding of sex offenders. It isn’t the deranged looking guy with a scary look on his face that you need to look out for… its the soccer coach who lives next door.