Unbeknownst to those closest to him, top Senate staffer Jesse Ryan Loskarn was a troubled young man who was sexually abused as a child. This all came to light after he was arrested for possession of child porn. He eventually took his own life over the shame, but Loskarn left a final letter to the world to try to explain what happened.
A former Senate aid for Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Loskarn, 35, was by all accounts a well-liked and respected denizen of Washington, and his fall from grace was a shock to all who knew him.
On December 11, Loskarn’s home was raided by U.S. Postal Service Investigators who are responsible for investigating the shipping of child porn through the mails. Child porn was subsequently found in his home and on his personal computer. He was arrested and spent several days on suicide watch.
Loskarn’s last message was posted to his blog by his mother on January 27.
With his final words, Loskarn tried to explain what had happened to him to friends and family, apologizing profusely for his actions.
Loskarn’s mother added an introduction to the letter that noted that the last month of her son’s life was “surrounded by a media frenzy, with what appeared to be the goal of destroying his reputation beyond repair.”
“Newspapers and other media outlets depicted him mostly in a negative light and stole away any good he had done during his short but full life,” the woman wrote. “During this tragic time he had no voice, but in his death he can be heard,” she added.
The man’s mother hoped that by publishing her son’s last message he might help others. “If his words can help just one person who is suffering in silence it will be his greatest accomplishment,” she said.
In his letter, Jesse Loskarn noted that he had “hurt every single human being” he had ever known and that the details of his shame are “preserved on the internet for all time.” He added, “There is no escape.”
The young man apologized for hurting his family, colleagues, and his boss, but hoped that his final letter might serve as a sort of explanation of what happened.
Loskarn wrote that he was placed on suicide watch for five days after he was arrested and said he fully intended to end his own life over the shame of it all. During his stay in jail, he did talk to psychiatric officials for the first time in his life.
“I’ve asked God. I’ve asked myself. I’ve talked with clergy and counselors and psychiatrists,” he wrote. “I spent five days on suicide watch in the psychiatric ward at the D.C. jail, fixated on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions: why did I do this and how can I kill myself? I’ve shared the most private details of my life with others in the effort to find an answer. There seem to be many answers and none at all.”
The young man alluded to having been a victim of sexual molestation as a child but did not reveal details in his letter. He blamed his status as a past victim for his skewed sexual nature.
He wrote that he thought he had control of all those mental images of children and sex that always ran through his mind. However, with his arrest his ability to compartmentalize those urges was destroyed. “In the aftermath of my arrest and all that followed, the mental equilibrium I had created to deal with my past is gone,” he said.
“Today the memories fly at me whenever they choose. They’re the first thing I see when I wake and the last thing I think about before falling asleep. I am not in control of anything anymore, not even my own memories. It’s terrifying.”
After explaining what had happened to him, both as a youngster and during the last month of his life, Loskarn explained that his final words were not “an excuse.”
“I understand that some people – maybe most – will view this as a contrived story designed to find some defense for defenseless behavior. That it’s an excuse. In some ways I feel disgusting sharing this truth with you because in my heart I still struggle to see my five-year-old self as a victim. But I’m sharing this with you because it is the truth, not an excuse. And I believe it played a role in my story.”
As he wrapped up his message, Loskarn offered one final apology. “And last, to the children in the images: I should have known better. I perpetuated your abuse and that will be a burden on my soul for the rest of my life.”
In the end it was all too much for him. Jesse Ryan Loskarn hung himself at his parents’ home on January 23.