Glee star Mark Salling found dead after pleading guilty to child porn possession

Actor Mark Salling, best known for his role as Noah Puckerman on the hit TV show Glee, has died at 35 years old. According to law enforcement, he committed suicide by hanging himself. TMZ reports that his body was found near a riverbed in the Sunland neighborhood, which is where he lived. The address is adjacent to a little league baseball field, and police discovered it after receiving a call to do a “welfare check” on the actor. Sources say a family member reported him missing at 3AM on Tuesday.

Salling was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. His laptop contained over 50,000 images and videos, and a USB drive contained an additional 4,000 images and 160 videos. And if that doesn’t sound bad enough, some of the victims in the erotica were as young as three years old. It was a disgusting, shocking scandal that, to many Glee fans, forever tainted watching the musical comedy-drama television series.

As punishment for his crimes, Salling was expected to serve between four and seven years in jail (although many people believed that he deserved more). He also would have had to register as a sex offender, and was banned from coming within 100 feet of various locations where children are typically present, such as schoolyards, parks, playgrounds, public swimming pools and video arcade venues. Reportedly he attempted suicide back in August, just after his arrest, by cutting his wrists. However, his lawyer denied it was a suicide attempt.

Nobody knew about Salling’s crimes until authorities received a tip-off. The tip-off came from a woman who told them the actor showed her his collection of child pornography on two occasions. Salling used software to mask his IP address, which is why nobody discovered it earlier. Reportedly the thousands of images and videos of abusive material were downloaded between April and December 2015.

Some people think the woman who gave the police the tipoff may have been Roxanne Gorzela. In 2011, she claimed Salling forced her into having unprotected sex. Then, in 2013 she accused him of sexual battery, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence in a civil lawsuit. After she dropped a claim of sexual battery, he paid her $2.7 million in a settlement and the case came to a close.

Salling is the second Glee star to die at a young age. In 2013, actor Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson on the Fox show, died at age 31. After struggling with substance abuse for many years – and going to rehab at age 19 after an intervention from friends and family – he finally passed away after a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room.

Few would have expected Salling and Monteith’s lives to reach such tragic ends, after watching their characters on Glee for so many seasons.