Feds: Computer of fired Alexander aide had ‘hundreds of videos depicting underage girls and boys’

A portable hard drive confiscated during a raid on the home of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s fired chief of staff contained hundreds of videos depicting underage girls and boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to the News Sentinel.

Postal inspectors confiscated the hard drive Wednesday morning from the roof of Jesse Ryan Loskarn’s home in southeast Washington. Federal agents said they retrieved the hard drive after they spotted Loskarn leaning out a second-floor window of the home during the raid.

Loskarn, 35, who goes by his middle name, was arrested and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. Alexander announced later in the day that he had fired Loskarn as his chief of staff.

At 2:04 p.m. today, Loskarn appeared before Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola for his arraignment in U.S. District Court in Washington. Facciola ordered Loskarn to remain in detention until a bond hearing Monday, when he also is expected to enter a plea. Prosecutors had requested that Loskarn remain in detention, arguing that he is a flight risk and a danger to the community since distribution of child pornography is considered a crime of violence.

Loskarn faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted of possessing child pornography. If convicted of the distribution charge, he faces five to 20 years in prison.

During the arraignment, Loskarn appeared tense, stared straight ahead and did not look at the audience in the courtroom. He did not speak, except to state his name and acknowledge that he understood why he was in court. He was dressed in a grey-zippered jacket and faded blue jeans, which appeared to be the same clothes he was wearing when he was arrested.

According to the court records, federal agents targeted Loskarn as part of a broader investigation into a movie production company that operated a website offering DVDs for delivery by mail and for sale via online streaming.

Last Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, postal inspectors identified Loskarn’s computer IP address on the Gnutella peer-to-peer network offering files with names that are consistent with child pornography available for downloading, the records say.

On Nov. 18, law enforcement officers obtained a partial file download of a video that was downloaded from Loskarn’s IP address on Oct. 5. The video showed an adult male partially undressing a prepubescent girl, roughly 8 to 9 years old, and then performing sexual acts on her, the court records say.

Armed with a search warrant, postal inspectors went to Loskarn’s home on Wednesday. When no one answered the door, investigators forced their way into the home.

An investigator assigned to observe the rear of the house saw Loskarn leaning outside the second-floor window, according to the records. The inspector identified the individual as Loskarn and noted that he “appeared to be in a nervous state looking right and left.”

“After approximately three to five seconds, Loskarn made a motion as if he were placing something down outside the window and closed the door,” the court documents say.

Agents later retrieved the object, which was a portable Toshiba hard drive. Loskarn did not admit to putting the hard drive outside, but admitted that he does own a Toshiba hard drive, the records said.

A computer forensic examiner inspected Loskarn’s computer and found peer-to-peer software that operates on the Gnutella file-sharing network, according to the court documents. The software was the same type used on Loskarn’s computer to share child pornography, the records said.

Loskarn, a Maryland native, had worked for Alexander for years in different capacities and was named his chief of staff in November 2011.

Alexander fired Loskarn after his arrest and said in a statement that he was “stunned, surprised and disappointed.”

Note: This updates and replaces earlier post.