Chad Thomas Daniel
Chad Thomas Daniel
An Iowa District Court judge Monday sentenced 37-year-old Chad Thomas Daniel of Breda to 40 years in prison for five felonies connected to the serial sexual abuse of five children.
The children were under the age of 12 at the time of the crimes.
Judge William Ostlund imposed four, 10-year sentences for felony third-degree sexual abuse that will run consecutively, and one 10-year concurrent sentence on Daniel — a resident of Breda who has, according to his attorney, been unemployed in recent years.  Based on the nature of the crimes, Ostlund issued a special life sentence that would allow Iowa Board of Parole to supervise Daniel until he dies.
“The underlying fact is that these persons were harmed in a way that I’m not sure I can understand, and I’m not sure that anyone in this room can truly appreciate the lasting effect, and how this may haunt them their entire life,” Ostlund said.
Daniel admitted to sexually abusing the children in an interview with Carroll County Sheriff’s deputies in December, court records show. They talked for about 45 minutes in the kitchen of Daniel’s house. Before he pleaded guilty on Oct. 15 to the sex abuse, Daniel was scheduled for a jury trial for 24 felonies for crimes that date back to June 2011.
Carroll County Attorney John Werden asked for the maximum sentences in the case. He called on the judge to “box car” the sentences so they would run consecutively.
“The defendant is a 37-year-old person who was engaged in long-term, systematic, serial abuse of five different children,” Werden said. “He has affected their lives. Their lives will continue to be affected for many years. At age 37 we think it is appropriate that Mr. Daniel never breathe free air again. We think he should be in prison for the rest of his life.”
Werden said Daniel fits the profile of a person who should be placed in detention.
“We should put people in prison we’re scared of, not people we’re just mad at,” Werden said. “Well, I’m scared of this man. History of sexual abuse on its own. Sexually abusing five different children over and over and over again.”
Daniel sat silent in an orange-and-white jail jumpsuit, his legs shackled, for most the 35-minute sentencing in Carroll County District Court. At times Daniel appeared to watch an Iowa flag north of the courthouse flutter in the wind. Daniel offered only one comment on his own behalf during the proceedings.
“I think they didn’t list some of the medications I take,” Daniel said.
Daniel’s attorney, Mark Ramussen of Jefferson, said Daniel was on unspecified medications but that they did not prevent him from understanding the proceedings.
In earlier statements Daniel claimed he was “checking the hygiene” of his victims, not abusing them.
“He has taken responsibility to this court of the fact that some of that contact was inappropriate,” Rasmussen said.
Ostlund said his chief priority with the sentencing is to protect society and Daniel’s victims.
“Rest assured, the sentence that this court will impose will provide enough time that those children who have been offended will at least be old enough to constantly fend for themselves whereas they are unable to do so at this time,” Ostlund said.
Ostlund said he considered Daniel’s “dysfunctional upbringing” and “extensive mental-health issues” as well as a criminal record “of some note.” Daniel’s criminal record includes convictions for criminal mischief and careless driving as well as a domestic-abuse assault charge, according to online records.
Ostlund also referenced victim-impact statements in the sex-abuse cases. One victim reportedly attempted to commit suicide as a result of the abuse. Victims also cited suicidal nightmares and depression as well as troubles with the law.
“The acts that may have happened are almost unthinkable,” Ostlund said. “I am certain of one thing, that I need to provide a buffer, a cushion, for these children, these people, so they’re going to be able to rest at ease for a substantial period of time.”
The Daily Times Herald does not reveal the identities of victims of sexual abuse without their permission and is not printing the relationship of Daniel to his victims in order to shield their identities.
Daniel is expected to enter the state’s prison system at the Iowa Medical Classification Center at Oakdale. Ostlund said good conduct and the completion of certain programs could allow Daniel to cut his time behind bars in half — which is why the judge said he added the special sentence to empower the parole board to keep Daniel institutionalized longer if it sees fit.