Capitol Punishment: The Troubling Consequences of Federal Child Pornography Laws

Until Dec. 11, 2013, Jesse Ryan Loskarn was a popular chief of staff for a Tennessee senator. But on that winter day, police broke down the door of his rowhouse in southeast Washington, D.C., and searched for the illegal digital items that had led them there: explicit videos of boys posing nude and engaging in sexual acts.

On Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, Ryan was found dead in his basement.

On Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, there was a twist. Ryan’s mother posted his suicide note online, revealing the great complexity to his story. He wasn’t a faceless headline, wasn’t a cautionary tale, wasn’t a vague story of justice. He became what most people didn’t want him to be: a human being.

What most of us have trouble comprehending — an argument all but forbidden in our current climate — is that Ryan could be understood as a victim himself. For his suicide note reveals a stunning truth: his own history of sexual abuse, one that had far-reaching, complex emotional effects. Full Article

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This well written article, by Andrew Extein, tells a compelling story of one individual charged with possession of child pornography. It is a very sad tale and sadder yet is that there are so many more people who are having the same or a similar experience. The pursuit and punishment of those who possess child pornography has gone too far. The current laws must be changed to avoid these and other tragic consequences in the future.

Janice is right, this is a very good article and it really hits home on many truths the general population refuses to, or just doesn’t want to acknowledge, I don’t know which one it is. I relate to this article on so many levels, except I don’t feel my once promising life has been ruined, I feel it HAS been for the most part destroyed.

I thank God I didn’t have to go to prison, I just spent five days in L.A. County jail waiting to go to court. The entire experience was so surreal, in a nightmarish way. I was amazed that the girl that called the police on me in a fit of anger over my desire to end the relationship wasn’t arrested and charged, because she was also in possession of the offending material (pictures) her self, all she had to do was to say it was mine, which she did. She took great pride in her ability to manipulate the system (ripping it off for $, etc), and this is just one of the things about her that just turned me off.

Another problem I had is I knew I wasn’t exercising my sexual instinct as God intended by viewing CP, just as I’m sure Ryan Lorskin also knew what he was doing was not right, and I knew that as long as I was with this girl I wouldn’t be right because her sexual instinct was so out there in left field and I was expected to participate, I mean, after all, we slept in the same bed. I am not blaming her for my actions, as nobody held a gun to my head, and I knew my actions were not socially acceptable. I was trying to correct my self, and she didn’t like that idea, especially if it meant I was outta there..

I’m not trying to downplay my guilt, because I was guilty. I am by no means contrite about the whole thing, I made a mistake, OK, I admitted it. But give me back my life. I miss the happy, gregarious person I once was. After what I have experienced, I think that person is probably gone forever. I have contemplated suicide, but I know that is not a solution to anything, and God considers suicide murder; when the clay pot breaks and the silver cord parts I do not want to have to explain why I killed myself; besides, there may yet be a part for me to play in this life.

It saddens me that there are 750,000 people out there like me, lost in the shadows, unable to find work, subject to harassment by the deceived and misinformed public, possibly attacked, and for the old or incarcerated ones unable to defend themselves, murdered. What also saddens me and what I find utterly sick and twisted is the fact that the powers that be go after children and adolescent kids simply for doing what children and adolescent’s do. These people need to be taught that human beings and all creatures in this creation of God’s have a sexual instinct, it falls right in line with the survival instinct, for these young ones to explore their sexuality is normal, not criminal.

I do find the part of this article troubling when the author states “The decision to empathize with a person who has caused harm is a deeply personal one. “ because this statement implies Ryan actually molested the kids in the videos he had. He did not. The article says Ryan was a smart man and knew what he could expect; life as an outcast to be viewed and treated as less than a dog. I believe this is the reason he killed him self.

(NOTE) I was not aware that many of us are considered constitutionalists and “domestic extremists.”

After reading the suicide letter from Mr. Laskarn, I sent this letter to his boss.
Senator Lamar Alexander
455 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

January 28, 2014

Dear Senator Alexander,
I am writing to you in reference to your former aide, Jesse R. Loskarn. I would like to state that Mr. Loskarn’s story is very sad. He obviously was well liked and respected and I wish to offer condolences to you and those who knew and cared for him.
I would also like to suggest that perhaps this is the time to consider amending the horrendous sentences and lifetime punitive restrictions inherent to a conviction for possessing underage pornography. Perhaps Mr. Loskarn would still be alive if he had not had the prospect of a Draconian sentence in prison and a lifetime of hate and vilification on the Sex Offender Registry. It has been shown by empirical research, time and time again, that men who view this pornography are not likely to have committed a “hands on offense” and the likelihood of re-offense is almost nonexistent. It is also a fact that this offense is punished more harshly than an actual molestation, in many cases. I do not understand why legislature has not considered the overkill these laws affect and amended them to a more reasonable sentence, and I sincerely hope that you, Sir, might consider advocating for such measures.

I, of course, have received no reply but I feel better for having tried.