WASHINGTON — “Former Senate aide Jesse Ryan Loskarn, found dead of an apparent suicide last week after he was arrested on federal child porn charges in December, said he was abused as a child in a letter published online by his mother.
“I found myself drawn to videos that matched my own childhood abuse,” Loskarn wrote in the letter, which his mother said was found after his death. “It’s painful and humiliating to admit to myself, let alone 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.”
Loskarn, 35, hanged himself on Jan. 23 in his parents’ Maryland home. He said in his letter he’d been planning to kill himself since his arrest, because “the news coverage of my spectacular fall makes it impossible for me to crawl in a hole and disappear. I’ve hurt every single human being I’ve ever known and the details of my shame are preserved on the internet for all time. There is no escape.”
He apologized to the children who appeared in the images allegedly found on his hard drive, and said he was not trying to use his abuse as 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,” he wrote.
Loskarn, the former chief of staff to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), possessed a hard drive filled with “hundreds of videos depicting underage boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct,” according to the complaint against him.
He had been scheduled to appear in court on Monday. A judge granted federal prosecutors’ motion to vacate that hearing “due to the death of the defendant.””
Jesse Ryan Loskarn’s Last Message
(I guess his mother wrote this)…
“The last month of Jesse Ryan Loskarn’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. During this tragic time he had no voice, but in his death he can be heard. Our society is quick to judge especially when the topic surrounding his death is so difficult. This letter written by Jesse Ryan Loskarn was found after he took his own life on January 23, 2014. If his words can help just one person who is suffering in silence it will be his greatest accomplishment.
I would say to his mother that Jesse was a hypocrite. He watched hundreds of videos of little boys being sexually abused, raped, terrorized, victimized, and most likely masturbated to it. Society MUST judge this behavior.
Jesse Ryan Loskarn’s Suicide Letter:
“On December 11, 2013, I was arrested for possession of child pornography. Writing those few words took a long time; seeing them in print is agony. But I owe many, many people an explanation – if that’s even possible – and that’s why I’ve written this letter.
The news coverage of my spectacular fall makes it impossible for me to crawl in a hole and disappear. I’ve hurt every single human being I’ve ever known and the details of my shame are preserved on the internet for all time. There is no escape.
My family has been wounded beyond description. My former boss and colleagues had their trust broken and their names dragged through the mud for no reason other than association. Friends’ question whether they ever really knew me.
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? 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 first time I saw child pornography was during a search for music on a peer-to-peer network. I wasn’t seeking it but I didn’t turn away when I saw it. Until that moment, the only place I’d seen these sorts of images was in my mind.
I found myself drawn to videos that matched my own childhood abuse. It’s painful and humiliating to admit to myself, let alone 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.
As a child I didn’t understand what had happened at the time of the abuse. I did know that I must not tell anyone, ever. Later the memories took on new and more troubling meaning when I became a teenager. They started to appear more often and made me feel increasingly apart from everyone else. In my mind I instigated and enjoyed the abuse – even as a five and nine year old – no matter the age difference. Discussing what had happened would have meant shame and blame.
I always worried someone might look at me and know, so I paid close attention to others for any sign they might have figured it out. No one ever did. By my late teens I reached a sort of mental equilibrium on the matter. I couldn’t stop the images from appearing altogether, but I generally controlled when they appeared.
As an adult I thought I was a tougher man because of the experience; that I was mentally stronger and less emotional than most. I told myself that I was superior to other people because I had dealt with this thing on my own.
Those I worked with on the Hill would likely describe me as a controlled, independent, and rational person who could analyze a situation with little or no emotion. That’s how I viewed myself. In retrospect, the qualities that helped me succeed on Capitol Hill were probably developed partly as a result of the abuse and how it shaped me.
In the aftermath of my arrest and all that followed, the mental equilibrium I had created to deal with my past is gone. 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.
In my life, I had only ever mentioned the abuse to three friends, and then fleetingly so. I never spoke to a mental health professional about this or any other matter until I was in the D.C. jail. I talked with a counselor there about my crime and the horrible hurt I had caused so many people. I didn’t talk to him about my past. I didn’t think it mattered because I intended to kill myself as soon as possible.
The session ended and I left to be taken to a cell. Before I’d gone far, the counselor called me back. He said there was something he couldn’t put his finger on and he wanted to talk some more. And then he just stopped and looked at me, not saying a word. He was the first person in my life who I think had figured it out. And he was the first person I ever spoke to in any detail about those memories.
That conversation was the first of many that have already taken place, and many more to come, as I begin the process of trying to sort this out and fix myself.
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.
To my family, friends and Capitol Hill colleagues: I’ve had individual conversations with each of you in my mind. I’ve pictured your face as I admitted to my failure and heard the shock and disappointment in your voice. I lay awake at night reviewing these conversations over and over again. They are among the most excruciatingly painful aspects of this terrible, terrible nightmare.
To those who choose to sever all ties with me, I don’t blame you. No one wants to think or talk about this subject matter. All I can say is: I understand and I’m sorry.
To those of you who have offered words of compassion to me and my family: your kindness has been remarkable. Compassion is harder to accept than condemnation when you feel as disgusting and horrible as I do, but it means a great deal. I’m more grateful to you than you can possibly imagine.
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.”
The primordial crime was in Jesse’s mind. That is where it began. He had already mentally visualized the images of children being sexually abused, or having sex with one another. When he ‘accidentally’ found the child pornography on his computer, he didn’t turn away, and he did not call the FBI –this was the crossroad.
There is no justification…ever. Once you cross over from victim to perpetrator, you become one with your abuser. You are no better than he or she was.
Let me say that it is always okay for a victim to discuss having instigated or having enjoyed sexual abuse. Let no person or child ever feel they cannot talk about this common element of child sexual abuse. Let those who try to silence children and adults be ashamed for doing so.
Maybe if someone had allowed this man to openly talk about his pleasurable experiences as a child victim –maybe he would have gotten help instead of hurting other children and killing himself.
My regular readers know that I have openly discussed this issue on this Blog. I was chastised and condemned by a few people…supported by many others.
Let this Blog always be a place where people can feel safe to talk about having initiated the sexual abuse as a child, or having had taken pleasure in it.
Children are not robots. They crave love and attention, and their little bodies respond to sexual touch. This is common and nothing to be ashamed of. The adult holds full responsibility –THE ADULT, not the child.
Jesse speaks the truth when he says compassion is harder to accept than condemnation when you have made grievous errors.
I offer my compassion towards this man, because, to my knowledge, he did not sexually abuse a child, and he took his own life.
“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.”
Suicide is not the end of the soul. This man will indeed carry the burden of perpetuating child sexual abuse. He took that burden with him to the other side. His soul will carry it like a suitcase attached to his ankle.
Suicide is not the end of someone’s pain and suffering, and sin, it is merely the beginning of an entirely different kind of pain and suffering.
People who commit suicide carry the weight of their crimes, their mental suffering, AND they carry the very serious transgression of committing suicide.