Lamar Alexander's aide, Jesse Ryan Loskarn, was arrested Wednesday
on charges of child pornography.
The 35-year-old Loskarn, who was chief of staff for the Republican senator from Tennessee, was arraigned Thursday morning in federal court, according to Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr, USA Today reported
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Loskarn was arrested by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service "based on probable cause for possession and distribution of child pornography charges," Carr said. Federal agents took Loskarn from his home in handcuffs shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday, driving him away in an unmarked car, Politico reported
Loskarn was immediately dismissed from his post by Alexander, who released a statement late Wednesday, in which he said he was "stunned, surprised and disappointed" by the news.
"The courts will judge Mr. Loskarn's guilt or innocence, but under these circumstances, he cannot continue to fulfill his duties as chief of staff of this office," Alexander said in a statement
. "Therefore, as of today, I have removed him from the payroll. The office is fully cooperating with the investigation."
Alexander said he had been told earlier in the day by the U.S. Senate's legal counsel that law enforcement agents were searching Loskarn's house, Reuters reported.
In the wake of Loskarn's arrest, Alexander named longtime aide David Cleary to be his new chief of staff.
"I have named David Cleary as my chief of staff. David has worked with me for eight years and fortunately is well-prepared to step into this position," Alexander added in the statement.
USA Today reported that Loskarn had worked for Alexander for more than a decade. In fiscal 2013, Loskarn earned $169,000, according to records compiled by LegiStorm
Having been a longtime GOP strategist, Loskarn became Alexander's chief of staff in 2011, prior to which he served as staff director for the Senate Republican Conference when Alexander was its chairman, the New York Daily News reported
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