Mark Salling's death may have come at a huge cost to his victims of his child pornography crimes.
Salling, who reportedly died by suicide before being sentenced to prison for possession of child pornography, was to pay $50,000 in restitution to each to his victims. However, in order to impose such a penalty, a judge must first sentence the defendant. Because Salling died before his sentencing hearing in March, his plea deal was not complete and the judge lost the power to order the payment to victims.
The monetary expense could have been a heavy one for the former Glee star, as prosecutors said there were more than 50,000 images on his computer when it was confiscated, with children as young as 3 years old appearing in the photos.
Salling's victims could find a saving grace in their option to sue his estate for damages they suffered from his actions.
In addition to prison time, Salling was also ordered to enter a treatment program and register as a sex offender. He was legally forbidden from communicating with any person under the age of 18 without a parent or guardian supervising.
Salling was reportedly found dead near a creek and little league baseball field close to his home in the Sunland area of Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ his body was discovered hanging from a tree, adding that he had been dead for some time when officers located him.
Police were somehow led to the baseball field after they received a call to do a “welfare check” on Salling after a family member reported him as a missing person around 3 a.m. on Tuesday.
After he was found, homicide detectives were called to the scene to rule out foul play, but all evidence reportedly suggests that Salling died by suicide. According to TMZ, the Los Angeles County Coroner arrived to remove Salling’s body from the scene.
The 35-year-old actor’s family confirmed his death on Tuesday, issuing a statement through their lawyer.
“I can confirm that Mark Salling passed away early this morning," the lawyer said. "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.”
"It’s tragic and I am broken-hearted over it,” she said.
As for how she will remember Salling, Lynch said she recalls a "really sweet video he made at the beginning of Glee when he was just so happy to be a part of the group."
Other cast and crew of the show also expressed their emotions on social media following the news of Sallings' death.
Iqbal Theba, who played Principal Figgins on the show, wrote only two words: "Oh Mark."
Glee producer Tim Davis took a more direct approach to address the sensitive topic of Salling's apparent suicide, as well as his charges for possession child pornography, a crime to which Salling pleaded guilty in December.
"Today we lost another #Glee cast member. Yes, he committed crimes against children. Yes, it's horrific. But #MarkSalling was a broken man, no doubt an abuse victim himself. I loved Mark, and am sad when I consider the devastation of his parents. PLEASE withhold your cruel comments," Davis wrote.0comments
After some criticism of his messsage, Davis posted another message to clear up his position.
"Let me be clear. Having compassion for #MarkSalling in no way minimizes his crimes, nor does it minimize the pain and devastation of the victims of those crimes. I'm just saying stop adding to his family's pain. This was their son. If you're without sin, feel free to cast stones," Davis wrote.