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Sunday February 7th, 2016 4:52PM

GOP senator's staffer arrested on child porn charges

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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.
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