Actor Mark Salling died Tuesday in what was reported to the coroner’s office as a suicide by hanging. No official determination on whether it was suicide has been annouced. The 35-year-old former Glee star was weeks away from sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor.
Attorney Michael Proctor confirmed Salling’s death.
“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,” Proctor said in a statement. “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.”
A Los Angeles Police Department spokesman told SPY HOLLYWOOD police responded to a “death investigation” in a park area near Salling’s home at around 8:50 a.m. A missing person’s report had been filed with the police at 3 a.m.
Upon finding the body, police officials concluded “there was no foul play” and called in the Los Angeles Coroner’s office to lead the investigation.
Ed Winters, Assistant Chief of Investigations with the coroner’s office, told NPR Salling was pronounced dead at 9 a.m. Winters added that the cause of death has not been formally determined but that “it was reported as a suicide hanging.”
Salling, who played Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the hit Fox show from 2009 to 2015, struck a plea deal in December and was due to be sentenced in March. He was expected to face a sentence of four to seven years.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Rozella A. Oliver ruled Mark Salling can be released after he posts $150,000 bail, including $100,000 of his own money to guarantee future court appearances.
Salling got a big fat check from his bank payable to the clerk of the court where he is on trial for possession of child porn.
Salling, who played bad-boy Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the Fox musical dramedy, was charged last week with two counts receiving and possessing child pornography after a grand jury indicted him last week. U.S. Attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek said investigators found an extensive, carefully organized collection of child pornography during searches of Salling’s electronic devices.
Federal investigators said they found more than 25,000 images and 600 videos depicting child pornography on computers and thumb drives that belonged to Salling. The content depicted children as young as 3 years old being abused, according to court documents.
The actor was to register as a sex offender and enter a treatment program; have no verbal or electronic contact with anyone under the age of 18; stay 100 feet away from schools, parks, public swimming pools, youth centers, playgrounds and arcades; and pay $50,000 in restitution to each victim, according to the documents.
Prosecutors initially sought to have Salling held without bail, but reached an agreement with the actor’s attorneys to allow bail to be posted. Salling’s attorney Alan Eisner surrendered Salling’s passport.
The Actors estate might have not to pay his victims $50,000 each now that the actor commited an apparent suicide, a source close the family stated.
“Restitution would be a part of his sentence. The amount of the restitution is determined by the sentencing judge … He will not be sentenced. Therefore there will be no restitution order,” the source explains. “Therefore I doubt that there is anything to take to civil court. Any restitution order would be allocated among multiple known victims.”
The insider continues, “The amount allocated to each would be different based upon, for example, therapy expenses they have incurred. No such order has been entered. I am unclear as to how anyone feels that they could go into court to enforce an order which has not been entered. I’m not saying that there isn’t some lawyer out there willing to file suit on behalf of someone claiming to be a victim. But I am saying, that there is no order to be enforced, for $50,000 or any other amount on behalf of anyone.”
He also released an album, “Pipe Dreams,” in 2010.
He shared a Screen Actors Guild award with the “Glee” cast in 2010 when the show was honored for outstanding TV comedy ensemble.
While killing yourself seems to be a final solustion to a temperary problem but for tormented Actor Stalling the pain ran deep. “The traditional stereotype of people who commit child sexual exploitation crimes simply doesn’t dovetail with reality,” said Joseph Macias, who heads the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles.
“As our investigators can attest, the defendants in child pornography cases come in all ages and from all walks of life,” he added. “While people are often surprised when high-profile individuals come under scrutiny in such investigations, we hope cases like this will raise awareness.”