The fired chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander was ordered held without bond Thursday after the aide's arrest on probable cause for possession and distribution of child pornography, authorities said.
In federal court Thursday, a prosecutor said the charge against Ryan Loskarn involved "a crime of violence against a minor." Defense lawyers wanted bail to be set Thursday, seeking to have Loskarn released from custody, but the magistrate judge delayed the detention hearing until Monday morning to give prosecutors time to prepare.
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.
He is accused of possessing child pornography videos, and offering one for distribution on a peer-to-peer network.
Loskarn was led from his southeast D.C. home Wednesday 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.
Court documents say that when postal inspectors went to his D.C. home Wednesday, Loskarn declined to open the door, and they eventually forced their way in. An officer standing at the back of the house said he saw Loskarn place a portable computer hard drive on the outside ledge of an upper floor window of the house, then close the window.
Court documents say investigators found "films featuring young nude boys" and "digital videos depicting child pornography," News4's Chris Gordon reported.
The case began with a joint investigation by U.S. and Canadian officials into a production company that offered sexually explicit videos of children. Loskarn was one of the company's customers, investigators say.
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."
Alexander had 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."
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.
Alexander is a former Tennessee governor who also has served as the U.S. Secretary of Education. He was first elected to the Senate in 2002 and is up for re-election in 2014. He said his office is fully cooperating with the investigation.
Alexander once co-sponsored legislation to beef up child pornography prosecution.