Mel Gibson Completes Probation, Begins Charity Work in Guatemala

Having fulfilled the terms of a plea deal in his domestic battery case, the actor flies to Central America to help sick kids

Mel Gibson is working on moving past his year of scandal. According to TMZ, as of this morning, Gibson has officially completed his probation -- which was part of a plea deal he agreed to in March, after pleading no contest to striking ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

At a court hearing in L.A. today, Gibson's lawyer gave the judge proof that Mel, 55, had performed his 16 hours of community service and paid the required fines. She also shared the evaluation of his psychiatrist, who gave Gibson "high marks" for going to therapy every week and claimed that he was making progress. He'll now be on "informal probation" for the next three years.

With the terms of his probation met, Gibson has flown down to Guatemala to do some work for Mending Kids, which provides life-saving surgical care to children in developing countries. The charity is a longtime cause of both Mel and his estranged wife Robyn Gibson -- and it's also the same charity Mel did work for to complete his court-ordered community service. On Thursday morning, Gibson was photographed visiting with sick children at a local hospital.

So what does the future hold for Gibson? He probably won't be making a movie comeback anytime soon; after a month spent awkwardly promoting his comedy The Beaver, it was far from a hit, making back less than $1 million of its $21 million budget. Gibson's personal troubles could have piqued audience curiosity about the movie (in which he plays a man with mental problems), but instead, audiences were simply uninterested.

The Mel Gibson who used to play heroes is gone now, thanks to some decidedly un-heroic behavior in real life. He'll have to try very hard to reinvent himself in the public eye. Visiting sick kids in hospitals is an excellent start, but it's just that: a start.

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