Staffer arrested on child porn charges

A top aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) was arrested on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography on Wednesday.

Jesse Ryan Loskarn, who goes by his middle name, is expected to be arraigned in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

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Loskarn was arrested on probable cause, the Department of Justice said on Wednesday.

“Jesse Ryan Loskarn, 35, of Washington, D.C., was arrested this afternoon by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service based on probable cause for possession and distribution of child pornography charges,” spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement. “He remains in custody pending a court hearing that is expected to be scheduled for tomorrow at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.”

Originally placed on administrative leave without pay, Loskarn was later fired from his job as Alexander's chief of staff.

The senator expressed shock over the situation.

“I was informed by the United States Senate legal counsel’s office that law enforcement agents were conducting a search of the personal residence of Ryan Loskarn, who has been chief of staff of my Washington, D.C., office, regarding allegations involving child pornography. I am stunned, surprised and disappointed by what I have learned," Alexander said in a statement, adding that his office was cooperating fully with the investigation.

“The courts will judge Mr. Loskarn’s guilt or innocence, but under these circumstances, he cannot continue to fulfill his duties as chief of staff of this office. Therefore, as of today, I have removed him from the payroll,” the senator said.

Loskarn had served as Alexander’s chief of staff since January 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was a well-known figure on Capital Hill, having worked for lawmakers in both the House and Senate.

Alexander named his legislative director, David Cleary, as his new chief of staff.

Agents from the United States Postal Service Inspection Office conducted the search in Southeast D.C. early Wednesday morning, U.S. Postal Inspector Lori McCallister told The Hill. 

In a video shot by ABC affiliate WJLA, the postal agents are seen escorting Loskarn out of his home and into a black SUV. His hands were covered by a black coat, so it’s unclear if he had been handcuffed. The ABC affiliate reported the agents were seen collecting evidence from the home.

The documents related to the investigation are under seal, McCallister said, so no further details can be released.

Loskarn previously served as the staff director of the Senate Republican Conference and as communicator director for Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

Alexander has served in Congress since 2003.

— This story was posted at 11:56 a.m. and last updated at 5:32 p.m.