A federal judge took the unusual step Tuesday of explaining why he allowed the former chief of staff of a U.S. senator from Tennessee to stay with his parents -- instead of in jail -- while he waits to be tried on child porn charges.
Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola allowed Ryan Loskarn to be released from custody Dec. 16 after a hearing. In a memorandum filed in federal court Tuesday, Facciola said he believed that the requirements of Loskarn's pre-trial supervision will "reduce to a tolerable risk the danger he presents."
Loskarn has been charged with possessing child pornography videos and offering one for distribution on a peer-to-peer file sharing network. He was replaced as the chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander after his arrest.
Facciola wrote in his memo that Loskarn's parents had assured the court that the only devices in their home that could access the internet are iPads that are protected with a password, and that they would not share that password with Loskarn.
The judge also wrote that Loskarn, who "held a senior staff position in the United States Senate, surely appreciates now, if he did not appreciate it before, how law enforcement can track those who download child pornography from the Internet."
"I concluded, therefore, that the risk of his resuming the downloading of child pornography is not great," Facciola wrote.
At the hearing earlier this month, Loskarn's lawyers argued that the 35-year-old had no prior convictions or arrests and that he should be freed. Prosecutors opposed the request.
Loskarn was arrested in December at his southeast D.C. home as a result of a child pornography investigation involving U.S. and Canadian authorities, who identified him as a customer of a company that sold DVDs and downloads. Those videos, according to investigators, showed children as young as 5 or 6 years old involved in sexual acts with other minors or adults.
As investigators were at Loskarn's front door to arrest him, he was seen placing a computer hard drive outside a rear window, according to court documents. Authorities found images of children engaged in sex acts on it.
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Loskarn faces up to 10 years on the possession charge and a minimum of five and maximum of 20 years on the distribution charge.
Loskarn is electronically monitored and confined to his parents' home.