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Fogle plea deal: better or worse than average?

Sex crimes involving children are different. They instantly invoke a fear in any parent, who thinks, "What if it were my child?" And that fear has fueled the draconian sentences that await anyone convicted of a sex crime involving minors.

When someone as well known as Jared Fogle, former spokesperson for Subway, is charged with sex crimes involving minors, there are concerns that cut both ways. Some fear because of his wealth, he can buy his way out of jail. Others may worry that he will be singled out for harsher treatment because of his fame and notoriety.

But the terms of plea agreement he made with prosecutors this week suggest that neither extreme occurred. He is likely to serve between 5- and 12 1/2-years, with required treatment, $1.4 restitution to his victims and he will have to register as a sex offender.

None of these terms differs radically from what would be offered to a less famous suspect. As the news report points out, prosecutors could have convened a grand jury to obtain an indictment but that would have been more complex and expensive, it is not likely that it would have resulted in much difference in the ultimate charges or sentence.

The rapidity of plea agreement, coming days after the formal charges were filed, while unusual, is not atypical. It is likely that prosecutors had substantial evidence, which would have made it difficult to develop a compelling defense.

The electronic evidence gathered by the FBI included numerous cellphones, laptops, tablets, hard drives, flash memory, CDs and DVDs suggest prosecutors could have developed an overwhelming case.

Sex crimes involving minors can carry very long sentences, and for a defendant, the plea agreement often provides the most predictable outcome for a defendant, while avoiding the embarrassing and inflammatory testimony that may occur during a trial.

Source: indystar.com, "Are prosecutors too lenient or too harsh on Fogle?" Kristine Guerra, August 19, 2015

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