D.A., U.S. Attorney Weighing Federal Charges Against Mark Salling As Investigation Into Child Pornography Possession Continues
12/30/2015 11:24 am PST
Jennifer Madison with reporting by Rebecca Waer
LOS ANGELES -- (December 30, 2015) -- Authorities found images of girls as young as 10 years old on at least one electronic device during a raid on Mark Salling's rented Sunland, California home that led to his arrest for possession of child pornography Tuesday.
Sources tell Crime Watch Daily well over a thousand images were found on at least one of the devices seized from Salling's residence and the district attorney is weighing whether federal charges can be filed against him.
The "Glee" actor, best-known for his role as Noah "Puck" Puckerman on the hit series, was charged Tuesday after the Los Angeles Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Unit used a battering ram to force entry into his home and serve a search warrant after he failed to answer.
Salling's computer and other electronic devices were seized after the actor refused to share his passwords with authorities, sources say.
According to Crime Watch Daily sources, because the LAPD's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is partnered with Homeland Security, federal charges could be filed against the actor if what investigators discover on the devices meets standards for charges at that level.
Crime Watch Daily has learned the LAPD is consulting with the district attorney and the U.S. Attorney's Office to determine if charges can be enhanced. A decision is expected within the next two weeks.
Salling was booked at the LAPD Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday and was released on $20,000 bail shortly before 2:30 p.m. PT.
This isn't his first public scandal. In 2013, Salling was sued by an ex-girlfriend alleging sexual battery. He was ordered to pay the plaintiff a $2.7 million settlement in that case.
Sources tell Crime Watch Daily Tuesday's bust was in the works for up to two weeks after authorities received a tip from an ex-girlfriend. The LAPD continued its investigation amid concerns it was part of a revenge plot but authorities eventually obtained a search warrant, leading to Salling's arrest.
Police sources will not confirm the identity of the individual who tipped them off but tell Crime Watch Daily it is not the individual involved in the sexual battery case.
Sources say Salling was living alone in the house he was renting during the raid. An individual referred to as Salling's roommate in media reports lived in a house at the rear of the same property. No charges were filed against that individual.
Crime Watch Daily has reached out to Salling's representatives for comment but has not yet heard back.
The actor's first court appearance is scheduled for January 22.