BOZEMAN – 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.