“His mom was his biggest defender. She didn’t want to believe any of it,” a former friend of the late Glee alum tells Us Weekly. “When she saw the evidence, her heart was broken.”
Following his arrest at the time, the actor’s family posted 10 percent of his $20,000 bail, TMZ reported.
News of Salling’s death broke on Tuesday, January 30. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to Us that Salling had died of apparent suicide at the age of 35. In the months before his death, as he awaited his March 7 sentencing, he still had the support of his mother. “She didn’t turn her back on him,” the insider explains. “None of his family did.”
— Mark Salling (@MarkSalling) March 29, 2016
Salling, who pleaded guilty in December to possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor, had struck a plea agreement with prosecutors in October that would have seen him serve four to seven years in prison, as opposed to the maximum 20-year sentence the charge carries. Following his release from prison, he would have had to register as a sex offender and stay 100 feet away from schoolyards, parks, public swimming pools, playgrounds and video arcades. He also would have been unable to have communication with anyone under the age of 18 unless the minor was in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
Like many of Salling’s fans around the world, his family was stunned by the allegations. “They didn’t believe it at first,” says the source. “I don’t know how often he went home or saw them but I know he was very close to his mom.”
Salling’s lawyer, Michael J. Proctor, spoke out about the actor’s death on Tuesday. “I can confirm that Mark Salling passed away early this morning,” Proctor said in a statement to Us. “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.”
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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