Jesse Ryan Loskarn, former Lamar Alexander aide, dead in suicide
Jesse Ryan Loskarn, a former aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) who faced charges of possessing and distributing child pornography, hanged himself and died Thursday in a Maryland home, his family and police officials said Friday.
Loskarn was found dead around noon Thursday in the basement of his parents' house in Sykesville, Md., according to the Carroll County Sheriff's Department. Loskarn died after hanging himself, according to Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman with Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland.
Known as a fast-rising GOP operative, the 35-year old began his career working for House lawmakers, moved next to the Senate Republican messaging shop and finally served as chief of staff to Alexander.
This image from video provided by WJLA-TV, shows Jesse Ryan Loskarn, chief of staff to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., being escorted from his Washington home by federal authorities in December.
As with many longtime congressional staffers who ascend to top jobs in the Senate, Loskarn began his career as an aide to former Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and the House Rules Committee. In 2007, he became a spokesman for the Senate Republican Conference – the messaging shop for Republican senators. Colleagues in both parties and the reporters he worked with considered him a kind and deft communications staffer with easy access to top aides and senators.
He became staff director of the Republican Conference in 2009 when Alexander assumed control of the office. Alexander later asked Loskarn to run his personal office after the senator stepped down from his leadership role.
But Loskarn's rapid rise ended suddenly last month when he was arrested at his home
and arraigned on federal child pornography charges. Police used a battering ram to gain entry into his home, where, they said, they recovered a hard drive from the roof that contained digital videos of child pornography. According to a criminal complaint
, Loskarn purchased several videos between November 2010 and March 2011 from a movie production company that was under investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Toronto Police Service.
A judge later released Loskarn to his parents in Sykesville, and ordered him not to access the Internet while awaiting a future court date. A grand jury indictment of Loskarn was originally scheduled to be released this month, but a judge approved a 30-day delay after prosecutors said it would take more time to compile evidence because of the holiday season.
In a statement Friday, his parents Chuck and Gay Loskarn said, “We loved our son very much, and we’re devastated by his death. Please respect our privacy at this difficult time and let us grieve in peace. Pray for him, his family and friends.”
News of Loskarn's arrest had stunned the close-knit Capitol Hill community and was revealed only after Alexander announced it in a statement. That day the senator quickly "removed" Loskarn from his duties and fired him after the arrest.
On Friday, Alexander said in a statement that “For everyone involved, this is a sad and tragic story from beginning to end."
Ed O'Keefe covers Congress and politics for the Washington Post. He previously covered the 2008 and 2012 campaigns and reported on federal agencies and federal employees as author of The Federal Eye blog. Follow Ed on Twitter.