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Actor Awaiting Child Porn Sentencing Found Dead

31-Jan-2018

Former "Glee" actor Mark Salling, who was awaiting sentencing on charges of possession of child pornography, was found dead yesterday after being reported missing hours earlier.

According to reports, Salling, 35, was dead of an apparent suicide, his body found hanging from a tree in a wooded park area near his Los Angeles home. TMZ reports that he had previously attempted suicide last August, two months before he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography as part of a plea deal that would have sentenced him to four to seven years in prison.

Salling was first accused of possession of child pornography in 2015, after a woman who claimed to have seen the content several times provided a tip about the actor's reportedly sizable collection of child pornography.

Investigators claim to have found more than 50,000 images of child pornography on Salling's laptop and thumb drive, and they say the images and videos included girls as young as 3 years old.

Investigators initially arrested the man in late December 2015, and because of the scope of the child pornography uncovered in the investigation, the matter was referred to federal authorities. The actor was indicted on two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography, and in June 2016, he pleaded not guilty to the charges in the indictment.

However, in October 2017, Salling pleaded guilty to the charges against him as part of a plea agreement that would sentence him to four to seven years in prison, 20 years of supervised release, registration as a sex offender, and restitution of $50,000 to any victim who filed a formal request for restitution.

A judge was scheduled to review the plea agreement, and Salling was to be formally sentenced in March 2018. 

Although the prospect of four to seven years in prison can be terrifying, Salling was still a young man, and would be released from prison at age 42 at the latest. Such a sentence is actually quite light considering the number of years he faced prior to the plea agreement and considering the magnitude of the amount of child pornography he reportedly possessed. While facing life as a sex offender can be challenging upon release from prison, people can live productive, law-abiding lives after criminal conviction. It can be difficult to think of the challenges ahead, but ending one's own life is not the solution.

Sex crime charges can be devastating. If you or a loved one is facing allegations of sexual assault, sex abuse, or other sex crimes, contact an attorney as soon as possible. 



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