ELKTON — An 18-year-old man is facing seven criminal charges in connection with him allegedly molesting a boy, 12, on two separate occasions at an Elkton church — where the suspect’s father serves as pastor — and also electronically sending a graphic photo of himself to a girl, 13, along with a solicitous message in another instance, according to Cecil County District Court records.
Investigators identified the suspect as Caleb Doyle Chase, whose father, The Rev. Jim Chase, is pastor at Five Rivers Church in the 200 block of White Hall Road.
Chase confessed to electronically sending an explicit photo of himself to the girl and asking her if they were going to have sex sometime in October or November, Elkton Police Department Det. Sean Murphy, lead investigator, wrote in his statement of probable cause.
Chase, who turns 19 on Jan. 29, is charged with sexual solicitation of a minor in that case, according to court records, which indicate that Chase allegedly committed that felony offense sometime between Oct. 1 and Dec. 13.
The two alleged incidents involving the boy occurred on the church property, the first of which took place inside the church while no one else was there and the second of which happened inside Chase’s car while parked in the church lot, court records show.
In the first alleged incident, which reportedly occurred “a few days prior to Halloween,” Chase picked up the boy at his home and drove him to the church to play basketball, police said. Once inside the church, however, Chase turned out the lights, approached the boy from behind and started fondling him over his clothing, police added.
The boy, whom investigators described as an “acquaintance” of Chase’s, fended off his alleged assailant and was able to slip away from Chase and hide inside the church, police reported.
“Moments later, (the boy’s) guardian arrived and found the doors to the building were locked. The guardian began pulling aggressively on the doors, until Caleb Chase answered them. The boy left with his guardian,” according to charging documents.
The second alleged incident occurred several weeks later and started with Chase and the boy heading together to Holly Hall Elementary School, which is across the road from the church, to meet another boy to play basketball, police said.
But instead of driving to the elementary school, Chase went to the church and parked in the lot, police added.
Chase then allegedly fondled the boy inside the car and told the boy to perform a sex act on him, police reported.
“The victim advised that Chase told him that he had to perform the act or Chase would kill him. Chase then pulled out a knife and showed it to (the boy),” court records allege.
The boy was able to get out of the car and flee, running until he found the friend whom he and Chase were supposed to meet to play basketball, police reported.
“During an interview with the suspect, Caleb Chase, he admitted to having been present in the church alone with (the boy) at the time of the alleged assault and he also admitted that he ‘used to’ to keep a knife in his vehicle,” according to charging documents.
Chase is charged with attempted first-degree rape, attempted second-degree rape, sexual solicitation of a minor, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and fourth-degree sex offense, all of which relate to those two alleged incidents, court records show.
The court records indicate that Chase allegedly committed those six offenses, four of which are felonies, between Oct. 23 and Dec. 10.
In the case relating to the boy, EPD detectives started their investigation on Dec. 12, after receiving a complaint regarding a “possible sexual assault on a child that occurred a Five Rivers Church,” police reported.
EPD investigators arrested Chase on Jan. 10 and a day later, after posting a $5,000 bond set by Cecil County District Court Judge Clara Campbell, he was released from custody, court records show.
Then on Friday, detectives arrested Chase again — this time on the sexual-solicitation-of-a-minor charge relating to the girl, police said. EPD detectives learned about the alleged offense involving the girl during the original investigation, police added.
“Through the course of that investigation, an additional potential juvenile victim was identified,” Murphy explains in charging documents.
Chase spent the three-day holiday weekend in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond, before his bail review hearing on Tuesday morning.
Campbell set Chase’s bond at an additional $5,000, despite Assistant State’s Attorney Cameron Brown requesting that the defendant continue to be held without bond.
“It’s not just a new charge, but a new victim. It shows a pattern of predatory behavior,” Brown contended, further arguing that the alleged offense was “confirmed through an interview with the defendant.”
Brown also reported that he would have “public safety” concerns if Chase were released.
Chase’s defense lawyer, C. Thomas Brown, emphasized that the new case against his client stems from an alleged incident that predates Chase’s arrest last week.
“This didn’t happen after you released him,” Thomas Brown told Campbell.
Thomas Brown reminded the judge that she already had placed several conditions on Chase while setting his $5,000 bond after his first arrest. Those conditions include Chase staying off church property and having no unsupervised contact with people under 18, in addition to submitting to Parole & Probation monitoring.
In setting the additional $5,000 bond during Tuesday’s hearing, Campbell added a condition that Chase “have no access to computers or electronic devices in light of the specific nature of this (new) charge.”
Thomas Brown told the judge that Chase is single, has no children and lives with his parents at their Elkton home. He also reported that Chase has no juvenile or adult criminal record and that he is employed.
“They will ensure that he is either home or at work,” Thomas Brown told the judge.
Court records indicate that Chase, who is scheduled for a Feb. 12 preliminary hearing in his newest case, is free after posting a second $5,000 bond on Tuesday.