A former inmate who is considered an expert on the culture of correctional facilities tells PEOPLE the Jan. 29 alleged beating of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle wasn’t the first attack the convicted pedophile has endured since entering Colorado’s Englewood Prison, and it won’t be the last.
Larry Levine, a prison consultant who’d spent ten years in a total of 11 federal penitentiaries, says he has a number of clients – who have hired him to guide them through the experience of surviving prison – incarcerated with Fogle who claim he’s a constant target for prison ridicule.
A spokesperson for the the U.S. Bureau of Prisons did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment on Thursday. On Wednesday, a spokesperson would not confirm the assault or punishment “based on the need to ensure safety and security in our institutions and in accordance with legal requirements including the Privacy Act.”
“He’s been slapped around fairly consistently since the start of his sentence it just hasn’t been reported,” Levine tells PEOPLE. “He’s had several inmates warn him to keep away, and he’s been threatened that if he says anything about being roughed up, they’ll get to him.”
Fogle sustained a bloody nose, facial bruising, and neck abrasions in the Jan. 29 assault in the prison’s recreation yard, according to an incident report by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The brother of Fogle s alleged assailant tells PEOPLE that 60-year-old inmate Steven Nigg simply “can’t be around child molesters” without getting violent.
Levine says he thinks the next 15-plus years will be difficult for Fogle, even if he is transferred to a different prison. “That stigma of what he did will follow him wherever he goes,” says Levine, who was convicted in 1999 on conspiracy, fraud, racketeering, and weapons charges. “He’s four months into a 16-year sentence and he’s already been assaulted several times. I would say this guy has some serious problems.”
According to Levine, prisons have a hierarchy, with varying degrees of respect shown for a wide-ranging array of offenses. Sexual assaults against children, he says, are considered the most deplorable crimes.
“There’s a pecking order in prison, and at the top, you’ve got the guys who’ve killed people – gang members, organized crime affiliates,” Levine starts. “People like Jared are at bottom, with the rats and the snitches. No prisoner wants to associate with a child molester. Jared is going to have a hard time as he works his way through the system. No one wants to befriend or associate with someone like that.”
Levine says that prisoners often refer to child molesters as “chomos.” These offenders are even despised by prison staffers, Levine says.
“With chomos, they’ll never tell other inmates what they’re in for,” Levine explains. They’ll say they’re in for drugs or fraud, but you can see it in their eyes.”
Levine says that his clients at Englewood Prison tell him Fogle’s arrival was preceded by a mandate from the warden: “The word from the administration was, ‘Hand’s off Jared,'” he says.
But the prisoners have not obeyed, Levine says. “When he got there, I was told prisoners started chanting, F— Jared, and Englewood is a chomo yard: 75 percent of the inmates there are child molesters,” says Levine. “Jared is there with a lot of his own kind, and is considered king of the chomos. The other chomos respect him, like he’s their God or something.”
Levine claims Fogle has been “packing on the pounds” since becoming a resident of Englewood Prison. He plays tennis there, but “the regular inmates won’t play with him, so all the chomos have started their own tennis league.”
While Fogle continues appealing his nearly 16-year sentence, Levine thinks the former sandwich pitchman is fighting a losing battle.
“That sentence was a result of a plea agreement he made,” Levine says. “His appeal is worthless, because he won’t be able to prove the court made any errors in this case. Just because you don’t like your sentence doesn’t mean you should appeal it.”
Fogle’s attacker is in prison on weapons charges, and will be a free man in 2024 – five years before Fogle’s release.
Fogle pleaded guilty to the charges against him in November, but has since filed an appeal of the sentence.
According to the government’s pre-sentencing filing, “Fogle went to great lengths to engage in commercial sex acts with underage minors.” The filing adds that “he continually communicated with the prostituted minors in his attempts to find even younger children for sex. He specified the ages he wanted, including 14- and 15-year-olds.”
One of Fogle’s attorneys, Ronald Elberger, declined to comment to PEOPLE on Wednesday. Another of Fogle’s attorneys, Jeremy Margolis, did not return PEOPLE’s calls for comment.