Glee actor Mark Salling, who played football-star-turned-singer Noah Puckerman on the show, has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges stemming from a 2015 arrest, BuzzFeed reports. Salling said he is “pleading guilty because I am guilty of the charges.”
With the plea deal, Salling will serve between four and seven years in jail, avoiding what could have been a 20-year sentence and a lifetime of supervised parole. Salling will also register as a sex offender, participate in counseling and spend 20 years under supervised release, during which his Internet use will be monitored and controlled. Salling will also have to pay $50,000 to each victim who submits a restitution request, while prosecutors are asking a judge to fine Salling as well. A federal judge still has to approve Salling’s plea deal.
Salling was arrested in Los Angeles on December 29th, 2015 after investigators received a tip reportedly from a woman that appeared several times in the child pornography Salling had obtained. While Salling was originally released on bond, federal authorities took over the investigation after it became apparent how much illicit content the actor was in possession of. Eventually, Salling was hit with a federal indictment, to which he initially pleaded not guilty in 2016.
In all, authorities reportedly found over 50,000 images and videos of child pornography and erotica on Salling’s laptop, while a thumb drive held an additional 4,000 images and 160 videos. Per federal prosecutors, some of Salling’s victims were aged between three and five years old. Salling admitted to using software to hide his IP and download child pornography.