The videos produced by a notorious international child-porn ring helped snare not just U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s ex-chief aide but a former top official of the University of Tennessee Foundation, court records indicate.
A federal search warrant unsealed Monday in a Washington courtroom lays out the trail U.S. postal inspectors followed that ended in last week’s arrest of Jesse Ryan Loskarn, 35, a respected congressional aide and Alexander’s former chief of staff, on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. The senator fired Loskarn hours after federal agents raided the staffer’s apartment Dec. 11.
A judge approved Loskarn’s release from jail into the custody of his parents Monday.
Loskarn apparently came to investigators’ attention as postal inspectors sorted through the customer records of Toronto-based Azov Films, according to the search warrant. The company sold DVDs and streaming videos of naked children to customers around the world under the guise of offering artistic, “naturist” films, authorities said.
A years-long investigation of the company, dubbed Project Spade, led to the arrest of the company’s owner in May 2011, to the rescue of nearly 400 children and to more than 350 arrests of Azov’s customers from the U.S. to Australia, authorities announced last month.
Azov’s customers, according to court records, included Loskarn and Bruce Downsbrough, the former chief operating officer for the UT Foundation and convicted child molester who pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal child-porn charges.
Downsbrough bought more than 60 videos and photos at a price tag of more than $2,600. Loskarn bought three DVDs from November 2010 to March 2011, to the tune of $78.60, Postal Inspector Brian Bone wrote in the search warrant.
The videos Loskarn ordered bore such titles as “After School Break” and “Headlock” and showed scenes that included Eastern European boys wrestling, swimming and showering naked, according to the warrant. Court records don’t indicate those videos showed any sex acts.
All the orders listed Loskarn’s address at 1804 Burke St. in Washington, along with his phone number and email address, Bone wrote.
A federal subpoena enabled agents to link the Internet Protocol address, the unique identifying number assigned to an online device, for Loskarn’s computer to more graphic videos posted to the file-sharing networks P2P and Gnutella, according to the warrant. Those videos showed such scenes as boys and girls, some as young as 6 years old, in sex acts with adults that include incest and rape, Bone wrote.
Federal agents served the warrant at Loskarn’s apartment Dec. 11, the day of his arrest, and found the hard drive of his computer stashed on the roof, according to court records. Because of his work as a Senate staffer, agents took special steps during the search of any devices issued to him on the job.
Loskarn’s attorney, Pamela Satterfield, didn’t return a call Tuesday.