Mark Salling died by suicide on January 30, after pleading guilt to possessing thousands of images and 600 videos depicting child pornography. He was due to be sentenced in March.



The "Glee" actor faced 4-7 years in federal prison; he already agreed to register as a sex offender, spend 20 years under supervised release, and pay each victim who submitted a formal restitution request $50,000.



But now that Salling is dead, everything changes.




"At the point of sentencing, which hasn't happened, there would be a restitution order and the judge would have legally enforced this $50,000 per victim agreement, meaning he's on the hook," Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Hart J. Levin told People. "He was never sentenced, so that agreement becomes null and void. There's no recourse through the criminal court to collect that money."




Other attorneys agreed, with former prosecutor Manny Medrano adding to BuzzFeed News, "If that person dies accidentally or by suicide, the government can no longer proceed. Essentially, no defendant, no criminal prosecution."



According to The Hollywood Reporter, in a late Wednesday report, the child pornography case against Salling has officially been dismissed. But the case was dismissed "without prejudice," per request of the prosecutor, and that means it can be refiled in the future.



BuzzFeed said that victims could still try and get restitution from Salling's estate -- said to be worth close to $2 million -- but it will be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. The victims can win damages if they prove their case in civil court, which is possible since so many images of child porn were recovered. But it sends them through the process all over again -- more hoops to jump through -- instead of just getting restitution approved and enforced by a judge after his criminal conviction.



It's frustrating for them, to say the least.



If you're looking for some better news on this topic, actor Ashton Kutcher is basically doing the opposite of Salling: His foundation Thorn builds technology to defend children from sexual abuse and end sex trafficking. This video gets really powerful around the 2:10 mark:Actor or not, Kutcher's a human being doing hero's work. We need more like him.



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