LOS ANGELES – Actor Mark Wayne Salling today pleaded guilty to a federal offense of possessing child pornography and specifically admitted that he possessed approximately 25,000 images of children engaged in sexual conduct.
Salling, 35, of Shadow Hills, who is best known for his role as Noah Puckerman on the television show “Glee,” pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor.
In a plea agreement filed in October in United States District Court, Salling acknowledged that he downloaded the images from the internet in 2015 and used software designed to conceal his activity. The collection was discovered on a laptop computer, a hard drive, and a USB flash drive after Salling showed some of the images to a girlfriend, who reported the matter to local enforcement.
Salling pleaded guilty this afternoon before United States District Judge Otis Wright II, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 7.The child pornography charge that Salling admitted today carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The parties to the plea agreement have agreed that the appropriate sentence in this case is four years to seven years in federal prison, to be followed by a 20-year period of supervised release. If Judge Wright decides to impose a sentence outside of the agreed-upon range, either party will have the option of withdrawing from the agreement.
Once Salling completes his prison sentence and begins serving a period of supervised release, he will be required to register as a sex offender.
The case against Salling is the product of an investigation by the Los Angeles Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which includes officers with the Los Angeles Police Department and special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. The Beverly Hills Police Department provided substantial assistance. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joey Blanch of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.