Mark Salling’s body was found in California near the TujungaSunland neighborhood hanging in a riverbed area adjacent to a little league baseball field. The coroner released a statement on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, ruling Salling’s death was indeed caused by asphyxiation by hanging. He was 35.
Salling was known for his character Noah “Puck” Puckerman in Fox’s hit series Glee from 20092015. Glee fans saw Salling as their favorite “bad-boy” character for so many years until he became an indicted criminal for the possession of child pornography in December 2015. A search warrant found over 50,000 child pornography images on Salling’s personal computer and other personal drives. In October 2017, Salling pleaded guilty on one count of possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor. Salling’s sentencing was scheduled for March 7, 2018; he was expected to serve only four to seven years.
Since Salling died before sentencing, questions have risen about if the victims will be paid and if Salling’s estate will pay for their restitution. An anonymous source told Us Weekly, “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. Therefore, I doubt that there is anything to take to civil court. Any restitution order would be allocated among multiple known victims.”
“Just because the criminal case is going to be dismissed does not mean his estate is off the hook financially,” Defense Attorney Troy Slaten said. “Any victims can sue his estate in civil court and receive monetary awards for damages. These awards can be in the neighborhood of hundred of thousands of dollars or even in the millions.”
Salling’s death adds to the multiple controversies and tragedies that occurred offscreen with the Glee cast. For instance, Cory Monteith died at the age of 31 after overdosing on heroin and alcohol in 2013. Monteith starred as quarterback Finn Hudson in Glee. Monteith discussed his teenage drug use in a 2011 interview with Parade. “Anything and everything, as much as possible. I had a serious problem,” Monteith said. Creator of the show Ryan Murphy attempted to reach out to Monteith, urging him to get help and promising him a job once his health improved.
Another issue with the Glee cast involved star Naya Riviera who played cheerleader Santana Lopez. Riviera was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery after getting physical with her now exhusband Ryan Dorsey. Rivera was reportedly drinking at the time. Charges were dropped at Dorsey’s request, and the couple divorced in December 2017.
A show that brought so much “glee” to its viewers ended in too many tragedies. Vocal coach for Glee Tim Davis tweeted, “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.” Followed by: “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.”