Senate staffer arrested on child pornography charges found dead

Chattanooga News

The former chief of staff to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) who was arrested on child pornography charges last month has been found dead in a suicide.

Jesse Ryan Loskarn, 35, hanged himself in his parents' house in Sykesville, Md., according to a spokesperson for Maryland's office of the chief medical examiner.

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Authorities found Loskarn's body on Thursday after responding to a call at approximately 12 p.m., according to a statement from the Carroll County Sheriff's Department.

A preliminary investigation indicated that Loskarn had committed suicide, and the body was then transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

Loskarn had been released into his parents’ custody in mid-December after being charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. Prosecutors had until Feb. 10 to formally indict Loskarn in the case. 

At a hearing in December, Loskarn was confined to his parents’ home, where he was banned from using any electronic device that could allow him to access the Internet. Loskarn was ordered to be under high-intensity supervision during his release and was required to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Prosecutors had argued against Loskarn’s release, warning there was no way to ensure he did not have access to the Internet and that he was at risk of fleeing or harming himself.

Defense attorneys argued that the risk of Loskarn harming himself was exaggerated, and that Loskarn’s parents and relatives were capable of supervising him constantly during his home detention.

Magistrate Judge John Facciola cited Loskarn's lack of prior criminal offenses and the close involvement of his family in imposing a full home detention.

Loskarn's arrest was a shock on Capitol Hill, where the aide had been familiar to many.

In a statement, Alexander said: “For everyone involved, this is a sad and tragic story from beginning to end.”

Loskarn's mother and father released a statement asking that people respect their privacy.

"We loved our son very much and we're devastated by his death," the statement from Chuck and Gay Loskarn said. "Please respect our privacy at this difficult time and let us grieve in peace. Pray for him, his family, and friends."

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service arrested Loskarn last month. It said it had evidence that Loskarn had ordered child pornography through the mail and distributed videos on the Internet.

Alexander initially placed Loskarn on administrative leave and later fired him as the details of the case unfolded.

Politico first reported the news of Loskarn's apparent suicide.

Updated at 2:15 p.m.

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