World News

Saturday 12 July 2014

Ex-aide facing charges found dead

Published 25/01/2014|02:32

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Lamar Alexander, left, with his then chief of staff Ryan Loskarn (AP)

A former aide to US Senator Lamar Alexander hanged himself in his parents' basement in Maryland as he awaited trial on child pornography charges, officials said yesterday.

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Ryan Loskarn, 35, was pronounced dead in Sykesville, Maryland, just after noon on Thursday, said Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the Maryland office of the chief medical examiner in Baltimore. He said the death was ruled a suicide.

Family members called police after finding Loskarn unresponsive in the basement, where he had been living, the Carroll County sheriff's office said.

A judge had allowed Loskarn to live with his parents while awaiting trial on charges of possession and attempted distribution of child pornography. He was required to be electronically monitored.

Loskarn had been chief of staff for Mr Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, for two years before his arrest., when he was fired immediately.

"For everyone involved, this is a sad and tragic story from beginning to end," Mr Alexander said.

A prosecutor warned more than a month ago that Loskarn might be at risk of self-harm.

At his detention hearing on December 16, Mi Yung Park said that Loskarn had said after his arrest that his life was over.

She said the comments suggested Loskarn might harm himself, and for that reason, she asked magistrate judge John Facciola to keep him in custody.

But defence lawyer Pamela Satterfield said there was nothing to suggest Loskarn would kill himself, and Mr Facciola ordered him released.

Loskarn was arrested on December 11. Prosecutors had been given until February 10 to return an indictment.

According to court documents, law enforcement officials believe that between November 2010 and March 2011, Loskarn made several purchases from a website that was offering child pornography DVDs.

He also was accused of offering child pornography files for download from his home computer.

Court documents say that when law enforcement officers arrived to search his Washington home, one watched as Loskarn appeared to place an object outside a window.

Officials later found a portable hard drive in that location, and a prosecutor said the drive contained at least 200 videos of child pornography.

If convicted, Loskarn had faced up to 10 years on the possession charge and a minimum of five and maximum of 20 years on the distribution charge.

AP

Press Association

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