Comal District Attorney’s Office Warns Parents to Monitor Kids’ Online Activity after Jury Convicts Man of Trafficking and Sexually Assaulting 14-Year-Old Girl
Thirty-year-old Chase Daniel Laird of San Marcos was convicted and sentenced to over 60 years in jail Thursday for trafficking and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old Comal County girl in February 2016.
It took a Comal County jury two hours to convict Laird and 20 minutes of deliberation to sentence him to 60 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for trafficking of person and will serve another 20 years and pay another $10,000 fine for sexual assault of a child.
Judge Dib Waldrip of the 433rd District Court presided over the trial, where multiple witnesses testified, including the victim, who was stalked by Laird on social media.
In a statement, Comal District Attorney’s (DA) office warned parents and guardians to pay attention to what their children are doing online.
“With all the good that social media brings, this case along with many others serves as a reminder that predators who seek to harm our children are lurking on the internet/social media,” the DA’s office said. “Please talk to your children and teens about the dangers of the internet/social media.”
Assistant district attorneys Jackie Doyer and Daniel Floyd prosecuted the case.
During closing arguments they asked the jury to give Laird a sentence that would ensure he would never have another opportunity to victimize children.
During the trial, the unidentified victim said she met Laird on social media and began exchanging phone calls, messages and pictures.
According to prosecutors, Laird later tried to blackmail the victim by threatening to post nude pictures of her, and sent her a message stating he would delete the images from his phone if she did “something in return.”
The girl testified she had sexual contact with Laird when she was supposed to be at a school-sponsored event at a bowling alley. He parked his vehicle in a different parking lot, met her at the bowling alley, and walked her to his vehicle.
Surveillance footage corroborated the victim’s account and showed the two of them in the bowling alley and in the parking lot of a local business as they walked to his car.
After the victim got into his vehicle, Laird drove her to a secluded neighborhood and had sexual contact with her before dropping her back off at the bowling alley.
The teenager called her mother after arriving back at the bowling alley and police were called.
During an examination at a local hospital, the victim completed a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination (SANE), and a DNA expert at trial testified that Laird’s DNA profile was found in sexual-assault kit samples recovered from the victim.
After the assault, Laird emailed the girl to apologize for his performance and ask for a chance at “redemption” by having sex with her again.
Laird did not cooperate with New Braunfels Police Department detectives Rick Groff and David Schroeder, who questioned him after the incident, and claimed he was a former foster child who mentored fostered children.
“However, at trial, after the state had presented its evidence in case-in-chief, Laird took the stand and admitted to everything, including the fact that he took precautions such as parking in a different parking lot because he had suspicions she was underage when he came to Comal County to meet her,” the DA’s office said in its statement. “Laird also admitted that by the time he met her in person he was aware that the victim was just 14 years old.”