UPDATE: Ex-Senate staffer appears in court on porn charges

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senator's former chief of staff has made his first court appearance in Washington on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.

Ryan Loskarn was fired as chief of staff for Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander yesterday after his arrest. A judge has agreed to hold him until a preliminary hearing on Monday.

According to a federal court filing, police used a ram to enter his home yesterday and noticed that he put something on a ledge outside a window. The filing says it turned out to be a portable hard drive with videos depicting child pornography.

The filing said U.S. postal inspectors had been investigating a movie production company -- a majority of whose films featured young nude boys. It said they found that Loskarn had made several purchases from the company in 2010 and 2011.

According to the filing, investigators in October identified Loskarn's residential IP address on a peer-to-peer network offering files that authorities said had names "that are consistent with child pornography."

Loskarn was a rising star on Capitol Hill. He had spent the past decade working his way up to increasingly important posts in the House and then the Senate.

Previous story:

The fired chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander was expected Thursday in federal court after the aide's arrest on probable cause for possession and distribution of child pornography, authorities said.
Ryan Loskarn was a rising star who had spent the past decade working his way up to increasingly important posts in the U.S. House and then the Senate.

According to a filing with the U.S. District Court in Washington Thursday, police used a ram to enter Loskarn's home the day before, and noticed that Loskarn put something on the ledge outside his window. It turned out to a portable hard drive with videos depicting child pornography, according to the filing.

The filing states that in 2010, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Toronto Police Service were investigating a movie production company, a majority of whose films feature young nude boys, and found that Loskarn had made several purchases from the company in 2010 and 2011.
Then in October of this year, the filing says, federal investigators identified Loskarn's residential IP address on a peer-to-peer network offering files "with names that are consistent with child pornography broadcasting as a download candidate."

Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a news release Wednesday he was "stunned, surprised and disappointed" by the allegations against his newly departed staffer. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, another Tennessee Republican for whom Loskarn had worked as communications director, said she was "shocked, saddened, and stunned."

Several messages left for Loskarn were not immediately returned.
Video taken by WJLA-TV showed Loskarn being led Wednesday from his southeast D.C. home by U.S. Postal Inspector police, who put him in a black SUV. Loskarn appeared to be in handcuffs, although a coat was draped over his arms. A spokeswoman for the agency said she could not comment on the arrest.

Alexander initially placed Loskarn on unpaid leave Wednesday morning, but before the end of the day, he had replaced Loskarn with David Cleary, the senator's legislative director.

Alexander said in a statement that it will be up to the courts to judge Loskarn, but "under these circumstances, he cannot continue to fulfill his duties as chief of staff."

Alexander is a former Tennessee governor who also served U.S. Secretary of Education under former President George H.W. Bush. He was first elected to the Senate in 2002. He said his office is fully cooperating with the investigation.

According to Loskarn's biography on his LinkedIn account and in previous communications for Alexander's office, Loskarn graduated from Tulane University in 2000 and went to work for retired Republican U.S. Rep. Wally Herger of California as a legal assistant.

He later was the communications director for Blackburn and eventually became staff director for the Senate Republican Conference.
Loskarn had served as Alexander's chief of staff for two years.

Previous story:

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has hired a new chief of staff following the news that his current chief of staff was under investigation for allegations involving child pornography.

Alexander moved quickly to hire a new chief of staff, naming David Cleary to the position within hours of placing former Chief of Staff Ryan Loskin.

"David has worked with me for eight years and fortunately is well-prepared to step into this position," Alexander says in a statement.

“Earlier today, 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. Based on this information, I immediately placed Mr. Loskarn on administrative leave without pay. The office is fully cooperating 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.”

David Cleary has served as Alexander’s legislative director since 2011 and as Republican staff director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee since 2012.

Previous story:

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R) released a statement on Wednesday about the investigation involving his chief of staff.

The statement reads:

"I was just informed by the United States Senate legal counsel's office that law enforcement agents are conducting a search of the personal residence of Ryan Loskarn, the 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. Based on this information, I immediately placed Mr. Loskarn on administrative leave without pay. The office is fully cooperating with the investigation."


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