BUTTE — Authorities are warning Montana residents to look out for a repeat convicted sex offender who escaped from the state prison in Deer Lodge late Monday morning.
A spokesman said Dean Randolph Jess was on a service call for the motor vehicle maintenance program when he left prison property at 11 a.m. Monday. The vehicle was found abandoned on the southern perimeter of the prison ranch.
Jess, who is in his early 40s, was originally arrested for incest in 2004. He was sentenced to prison for 55 years for incest and failing to register as a sex offender in 2005 in Park County (Livingston). He would have been eligible for parole in 2030.
Linda Moodry, the prison’s public information officer, said Jess has been working with the motor vehicle maintenance program since 2006. He was responsible for ordinary automotive maintenance, like changing oil and tires.
Besides two minimal write-ups in 2008, Jess was not a problem inmate, Moodry said, adding that he got along with other inmates and staff.
“He’d really done OK and progressed through the system,” Moodry said.
Moodry said nobody knows what triggers runaways, but that his discharge date is quite some time away.
Park County attorney Brett Linneweber said he remembers Jess well — as “one of the most violent sexual offenders we’ve encountered.” Linneweber said Jess also had a prior rape conviction against an adult female who was not a family member in Washington, where he was born.
“He does not differentiate between children or young women,” Linneweber said.
Before his arrest, Jess lived on the edge of Park County near the Sweetgrass County line, Linneweber said. It was there he sexually assaulted a young family member. He was married, but his family left him after they learned of the incident, Linneweber said.
The attorney said prison authorities contacted Park County as soon as they learned of the escape, and Park County is working with the prison to provide contact information. Linneweber said there is no reason to believe he’d come back to Park County, and in fact he may be heading toward Washington.
“I want him picked up as fast as possible,” Linneweber said.
According to the state’s convicted criminal Website, Conweb, Jess is 5 feet 10 inches tall, 180 pounds, with green eyes and a shaved head. He has a tattoo on his left arm of Taz, and a tattoo on his right arm of a skull with a hat and cigar.
People with information are asked to call their nearest law enforcement office.