Former Salem Gym Teacher Accused Of Assaulting Students Arraigned

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SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A former Salem physical education teacher was ordered held on $200,000 bail Thursday, charged with 32 counts of aggravated indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

36 year-old Daniel Hakim, a North Andover resident, is accused of sexually assaulting ten students at Salem's Saltonstall School where he taught from 2015-2018.

Hakim was arrested Wednesday evening, around 5:30 p.m., according to a statement from the Essex County District Attorney's office.

The D.A.'s office says Salem Public Schools was first made aware of 'instances of improper conduct' by Hakim in 2018, and the district notified Salem Police, DCF, and DESE. At that time, "Hakim [was] immediately removed from the school and suspended pending the outcome of the investigation; he never [returned] to Salem Public School and his employment [ended]." However, DCF's investigation deemed the claims not to be prosecutable.

Two years later in 2020, DESE revoked Hakim's teaching license.

In 2021, When another Saltonstall student came forward with assault allegations against Hakim, "Salem Police and the District Attorney’s office [investigated] and [charged] Hakim with seven counts in December 2021. Salem Public Schools [notified] Saltonstall families directly about the arrest, [held] a forum with parents to discuss it, and [provided] supports for students and families impacted by the traumatic event. The arrest, district outreach to families, and ensuing news coverage [prompted] additional students to volunteer information to law enforcement about additional improper conduct by Hakim."

The D.A.'s office says this prompted a thorough investigation of the new charges over five months in 2022, culminating with a warrant and Hakim's arrest on June 15th.

Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, Salem Police Chief Lucas Miller, and Superintendent of Salem Public Schools Dr. Stephen Zrike put out a joint statement on Hakim's arraignment:

“As community leaders and, most importantly, as parents we are sickened by the abuse from a trusted adult that these children were subjected to and the ongoing pain and trauma these young survivors and their families are and will continue to face. The actions for which Daniel Hakim has been arrested and charged are abominations.
We are grateful for and applaud the cooperation of the victims and their families, their patience with the detailed investigation, and, above all, their courage in coming forward. Additionally, on behalf of our entire community, we are deeply appreciative for the diligence and commitment of the Salem Police CID detective – herself a mother – who took on this important case to ensure that justice was done for these victims, and for the perseverance of the members of the District Attorney’s Office.
In support of our school community during this difficult time, Salem Public Schools has been and will continue to provide ongoing resources for students and families who have been impacted by this incident.
Lastly, we know that any allegation of inappropriate interactions with children is disturbing and concerning, however we are limited in the information we can share beyond this statement, both for legal reasons due to the ongoing case and for student privacy. Nevertheless, we are all of us fully committed to the safety and well-being of the students who attend Salem Public Schools and are therefore prepared to work with prosecutors to ensure the fullest accountability of the law in this terrible case. This arrest and today’s arraignment show the strength of victims and survivors when they are supported and empowered to step out of the shadows to tell their accounts.”

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