Mark Salling's suicide jeopardizes restitution for victims in child porn case

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle

Mark Salling’s suicide is affecting not only those close to him, but also the victims in his child pornography case.

On Tuesday, the Glee star was pronounced dead after he was found hanging from a tree near the Los Angeles River in Sunland, Calif. Salling was facing four to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges of being in possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor. He was set to be sentenced in March.

Mark Salling arrives for a court appearance on June 3, 2016. (Photo: Getty Images)

Salling was arrested in 2015, leading authorities to discover more than 25,000 images and 600 videos depicting child pornography on his electronic devices. According to court documents, the victims were ages 3 to 5. Part of Salling’s plea deal included paying $50,000 to each victim who requests restitution.

According to TMZ, Salling’s deal is not considered complete before the March court date, so the judge is unable to order payment to the victims. However, the victims could sue the actor’s estate for damages suffered. Yahoo reached out to Salling’s attorney but did not receive a response.

In December, Salling’s lawyer told People his client was trying to make amends for his transgressions: “Mark is focused on accepting responsibility and attempting to atone for his conduct.”

TMZ reported Salling attempted suicide in August 2017 by cutting his wrists, a month and a half before he pleaded guilty.

Salling was best known for playing Noah “Puck” Puckerman on Glee from 2009 to 2015. Some of the cast and crew of the hit show reacted to the news of his death yesterday. Matthew Morrison shared a photo of himself, Salling, and the late Cory Monteith, who died from an accidental drug and alcohol overdose in 2013.

 

Jenna Ushkowitz commented with a heart emoji. A producer for the show, Tim Davis, also shared his thoughts on Twitter.

Jane Lynch told TMZ, “It’s sad and very tragic,” adding, “It’s tragic and I’m brokenhearted over it.”

An autopsy on Salling’s body is scheduled sometime in the next few days, but foul play is not suspected.

Following news of his death, the actor’s lawyer released the following statement: “I can confirm that Mark Salling passed away early this morning. Mark was a gentle and loving person, a person of great creativity, who was doing his best to atone for some serious mistakes and errors of judgment. He is survived by his mother and father, and his brother. The Salling family appreciates the support they have been receiving and asks for their privacy to be respected.”

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