By JACQUELINE BLACKWOOD/Montana State News
A former Montana State University student accused of rape and assault with a deadly weapon may have since been spotted in Missoula on the University of Montana campus, according to Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Kevin A. Briggs, 28, is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall. He escaped from Bozeman’s Law and Justice Center in the morning of Feb. 1. wearing a belly belt with handcuffs and leg shackles, according to Montana State University police.
It is believed he could be connected to armed robberies around the University of Montana campus in Missoula, according to reports.
After the Feb. 1 escape, warnings were sent out to all MSU students via text message or email to warn them of the escapee because of the proximity of the police station to campus.
Briggs was a senior in chemical engineering at MSU but, according to Matt Caires, MSU dean of students, Briggs is no longer enrolled at the university. He is currently listed on MSU’s sexual offenders website.
According to Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Briggs is currently on probation after being convicted for sexual intercourse without consent with a 14-year-old girl, aggravated kidnapping, burglary and escape.
Reports of sexual crimes seem to be rising on the MSU campus. According to MSU’s police log on the campus website, at least eight rape and/or sexual assault cases have been reported since January 2013, a significant increase from past years.
One explanation for the increase in sexual crime reports could be the increase in student enrollment that MSU has experienced over the last few years. The MSU Police Department could not be reached for comment on how they have adapted their policing of crime because of the influx of students.
MSU students and the general public are encouraged to attend crime prevention presentations offered by the MSU Police Department, available anytime upon request. The MSU Police also provides escorts for students that are available on campus 24 hours a day.
For more information or to sign up to receive alerts from the MSU Police Department, visit montana.edu/wwwmsupd/.
-Edited by Elizabeth Johnson