Former Senate aide Jesse Ryan Loskarn, who hanged himself as he faced child pornography charges, left a suicide note saying he had been sexually abused as a child and expressed shame and regret for his conduct as an adult.
Loskarn, 35, who was chief of staff for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), lost his job after authorities raided his Washington home and found the pornography last month. He allegedly purchased sexually explicit DVDs and streaming videos involving underage boys.
He was charged with possessing child pornography and released into the custody of his parents, Chuck and Gay Loskarn of Sykesville, Md., on condition that he wear an ankle bracelet and stay off the Internet.
Loskarn committed suicide Jan. 23. His mother released his typewritten note late Monday on the website Jesse Ryan Loskarn's Last Message.
He said he had written the note to explain what happened.
“Everyone wants to know why.
“I’ve asked God. I’ve asked myself. I’ve talked with clergy and counselors and psychiatrists. 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?”
Loskarn said he was abused as early as age 5, but did not say by whom. “As a child I didn’t understand what had happened.... I did know that I must not tell anyone.”
His memories worsened as he became a teenager, he said. “In my mind I instigated and enjoyed the abuse – even as a 5- and 9-year-old – no matter the age difference. Discussing what had happened would have meant shame and blame.”
He said he first viewed child pornography by accident while doing a search for music on a peer-to-peer network.
"I found myself drawn to the videos that matched my own childhood abuse. It's painful and humiliating to admit to myself, let alone to the whole world, but I pictured myself as a child in the image or video. The more an image mirrored some element of my memories and took me back, the more I felt a connection.
“This is my deepest, darkest secret," he said.
He never really discussed the abuse until he was in the D.C. jail, he said, when a mental health professional drew him out.
“Today the memories fly at me whenever they choose,” he said. “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.”
Loskarn apologized to friends, family and colleagues. He thanked those who showed him compassion. And he ended with:
"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 a preface to the suicide note, Loskarn’s family said that after his arrest, he was hounded by the media and "had no voice, but in his death he can be heard.... If his words can help just one person who is suffering in silence, it will be his greatest accomplishment."
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