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Former U.S. Senate aide facing child porn charges found dead: police

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former top U.S. Senate aide awaiting trial on child pornography charges was found dead after what may have been a suicide, a Maryland sheriff's department said on Friday.

The body of Jesse Loskarn, 35, a former chief of staff to Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, was discovered in the basement of his family's home in Sykesville, Maryland, on Thursday, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. A preliminary investigation indicates he may have taken his own life, the statement said.

Loskarn was arrested last month by U.S. postal agents on suspicion of possessing and attempting to distribute child pornography.

Alexander, who is seeking a third term this year, fired Loskarn following his arrest.

"For everyone involved, this is a sad and tragic story from beginning to end," Alexander said in a statement.

A judge released Loskarn last month into the custody of his parents, who live in Sykesville, and ordered him to have no access to the Internet while under house arrest.

A criminal complaint said a hard drive seized at Loskarn's home in Washington, D.C., contained footage of a prepubescent girl being molested, along with hundreds of videos of underage boys engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

The arrest stemmed from an investigation launched in 2010 by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Toronto police into a movie production company that made films featuring naked young boys, according to the criminal complaint. One of the company's customers was Loskarn, the complaint said.

Loskarn had faced a total maximum of 30 years in prison for the two charges.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Chris Reese and Alden Bentley)

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