Jesse Ryan Loskarn, the aide to Tennessee senator Lamar Alexander who killed himself last week after being arrested for possession of child pornography, left behind an open letter in which he tried to explain and apologize for his actions.

The letter, which you can read in full here, was released by Loskarn's mother, according to The Hill. In it, Loskarn says he owes "many, many people an explanation."

Nowhere does Loskarn say he was sexually attracted to the children in the videos he was accused of downloading. Instead, this sounds more like Who guitarist Peter Townshend's excuse for why he was caught accessing child pornography websites in 2003: he was doing research for his autobiography, and claimed to have been sexually abused as a child.

Here's Loskarn's explanation:

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. 

Loskarn says he only began to talk about his past abuse with a counselor in jail, though by that time he'd also made up his mind to kill himself as soon as possible. You wonder if he might have gotten the help he clearly needed if he'd been able to hold on a little longer. But mostly, you wonder what would have happened if he sought help before he downloaded any child porn, and if this could have ever had a happier ending.

Even now, Loskarn says, he still is not completely able to see himself as a victim of his own abuse, which he says happened when he was five and nine years old.

He was a victim then, of course. But now he has victims of his own: the children in the files he downloaded. According to the criminal complaint, there are a lot of them. Loskarn closes the letter with a message to them, writing: "I should have known better. I perpetuated your abuse and that will be a burden on my soul for the rest of my life."