Actor Mark Salling was charged Friday (May 27) with receiving and possessing child pornography, following an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Investigators seized a laptop, hard drive and USB flash drive from Salling's home, following his arrest on December 29. Investigators claim it contained thousands of pictures and videos depicting child pornography.
The indictment claims Salling had at least one photo and video of "a prepubescent minor and a minor who had not attained 12 years of age." The title of one of the videos suggests the child was 5 years old.
Although it had not yet been publicized, Lt. Andrea Grossman, commander of the LAPD Internet Crimes Against Children task force, told The Hollywood Reporter in an email on Thursday that the case had been transferred to federal authorities.
THR contacted U. S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker's office for a comment, but did not receive one until they issued a press release Friday.
“Those who download and possess child pornography create a market that causes more children to be harmed,” Decker said in a statement Friday. “Young victims are harmed every time an image is generated, every time it is distributed, and every time it is viewed.”
The statement stresses that the indictment is an allegation that Salling committed the crime, but "every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court."
If convicted, Salling faces a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison for the charge of receiving child pornography. Both charges carry a statutory maximum of 20 years.
It's also clear from the statement that authorities want high-profile individuals to know they're not above the law.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you hurt a child you will be held accountable,” Lt. Grossman said in the release. “These images are more than photographs, they are child abuse.”
Salling is expected to surrender to federal authorities and be arraigned on June 3. The actor played Noah "Puck" Puckerman on Glee from 2009 until the show went off the air last year.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.