UPDATE: A Belgrade man who is a custodian at Montana State University is accused of having child pornography on his cellphone.
He could be connected to the incident last week on MSU’s campus that caused the university to go into shelter-in-place mode.
Brian Stewart is charged with sexual abuse involving children after court documents here at the Gallatin County Law and Justice Center show investigators finding inappropriate videos and photos on his smartphone.
We were also the only television news camera in the courtroom this morning.
According to these documents, this started after a Montana State University employee staff member reported Stewart for suicidal behavior last week, July 11.
Campus police did not arrest Stewart, instead taking him to Hope House for mental evaluation.
It was there court documents show Stewart allowed police to look at his phone for evidence of being suicidal.
Investigators say they found the photos and videos instead.
In the courtroom, the prosecutor says Stewart has been an employee of MSU for 24 years.
They also said he once served on the National Guard, where he was honorably discharged.
MSU officials could not confirm if Stewart was the same campus employee who was at the center of a shelter-in-place mode investigation also back on July 11.
In that case — campus police say a current employee threatened to use guns on himself and others shortly before going to a dismissal session that same day.
MSU could confirm that Stewart is a custodian at the university, yet this latest charge is not connected to MSU.
The prosecutor says Stewart does not have any past criminal history.
If convicted, he could face up to 100 years in prison and his bail was set at $75,000.
BOZEMAN, Mont. – A 54-year-old Belgrade man has been accused of possessing child pornography after law enforcement found it on his phone while investigating suicide threats by the man.
Brian Lynn Stewart was charged with sexual abuse of children, a felony, and was seen in Gallatin County Justice Court on Friday. He is being held on a $75,000 bail. If released, Stewart was ordered to have no contact with children and have no access to a smartphone or the internet.
According to charging documents, an MSU staff member reported that Stewart had made suicidal comments. Due to the comments, Stewart was located and detained by MSU Police for further investigation. Stewart was transported to Hope House for evaluation.
After Stewart agreed to a written consent search of his phone, investigators performed a technical forensic examination. Stewart was contacted by phone during the examination when a Certified Forensic Computer Examiner discovered many videos and a large number of data files. Several of the videos reportedly appeared pornographic in nature.
When asked if there was anything investigators needed to be aware of, Stewart reportedly replied: “Just the illicit porn that may be on there, ya know?” When asked if there was anything juvenile, Stewart allegedly responded: “Probably. Do I need a lawyer?”
After a search warrant was obtained, the phone’s data was searched and evidence of child pornography was reportedly discovered.
Under state law, Stewart knowingly possessed visual or print medium, including a medium by use of electronic communication in which a child is engaged in sexual conduct, actual or simulated.
In court, prosecutors said Stewart was an employee of MSU for 24 years and was honorably discharged from the National Guard.