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GOP Strategist's Child Porn Charges Tied To Major Canadian Case

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AP Photo / AP

Nearly one month after the results of Project Spade were unveiled in Toronto, a top Republican Capitol Hill staffer was arrested at his home on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. Court documents said that Ryan Loskarn, who until Wednesday served as Sen. Lamar Alexander's (R-TN) chief of staff, had hundreds of videos depicting child pornography on a hard drive in his Washington, D.C. home.

The Justice Department confirmed to TPM on Thursday that Loskarn's case was related to Project Spade.

Some details of the connection appeared in a court document filed Thursday in the Loskarn case. The document states that in October 2010 the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Toronto Police Service were jointly investigating a movie production company that ran a website offering both streaming videos and DVDs for delivery by the mail.

"The majority of these films feature young nude boys," the court document states. "As part of this investigation, [the U.S. Postal Inspection Service] located one customer, Jesse Ryan Loskarn."

According to the court document, the website's records indicated that Loskarn made several purchases between November 2010 and March 2011.

The Project Spade investigation began in October 2010 after undercover officers in Toronto made contact with a man on the internet sharing graphic images of young children being sexually abused. Officers then determined that the man -- now identified as Brian Way -- was allegedly running an exploitation movie production and distribution company.

"The company operated a website - www.azovfilms.com - where customers from around the world placed orders to have movies sent to them through the mail or internet," Joanna Beaven-Desjardins, an inspector with the Toronto police, said a press conference in November.

Because they believed many of the movies were being exported to the United States, Toronto police enlisted the help of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

According to The Toronto Star, U.S. Postal Inspector Brian Bone was instrumental to the investigation. Beginning in February 2011, Bone placed a number of successful orders with Azovfilms.com, several of which allegedly met the Canadian and U.S. legal standards for child pornography.

The criminal complaint in the Loskarn case was signed by Bone.

Loskarn is not the only shocking arrest related to Project Spade. Among those cuffed were six law enforcement officials, nine religious leaders, 40 school teachers, three foster parents, and nine doctors and nurses. The Toronto man at the center of the investigation, Brian Way, was charged in Canada with 24 offenses, including numerous child-pornography and proceeds-of-crime offenses, as well as instructing a criminal organization.

According to the Toronto police, Project Spade also led to the rescue of 386 children.

About The Author

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com