SALEM, MASS. (WHDH) - A former Salem gym teacher and North Andover resident was arrested Wednesday, facing charges for allegedly assaulting 10 female first- through third-graders.
Daniel Hakim, 36, was a teacher at the Saltonstall School from 2015 to 2018. In 2018, the Salem Public School District received several reports of improper conduct concerning Hakim, which were brought to the state Department of Children and Families, the Salem Police Department and the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. That year, he was immediately removed from the school and suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
In 2020, DESE revoked Hakim’s teaching license. The following year, another former Saltonstall student told her parents about improper conduct by Hakim in 2016. Salem Police and the DA’s office investigated the reports and charged Hakim with seven counts in December 2021. Once that information was made public, additional students came forward with their own allegations of assault.
In the following five months, investigators conducted new interviews and gathered evidence against Hakim, leading to his arrest. He now faces 32 counts of Aggravated Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14.
Each of the 10 cases, which allegedly included inappropriate sexual contact, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
“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,” said Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, Salem Police Chief Lucas Miller and Superintendent Stephen Zrike in a joint statement. “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.”
The group thanked the police and the DA’s office for their work on the case, and said they’d provide ongoing resources for students and families impacted by the incident. They also noted that they’re limited in what information they can share due to the ongoing case and for student privacy reasons.
The Salem PTO declined to comment further, citing the pending legal actions against Hakim, the status of the investigation and the privacy concerns around the children.
Hakim appeared in court Thursday, where he plead not guilty to the charges. His council asked for a $5,000 bail. The DA’s office asked for a $200,000 cash bail for Hakim on the conditions that he be placed on house arrest, wear a GPS tracking device and have no contact with victims or their families. The judge ruled that Hakim’s bail be set at $200,000 with a no-contact order in place. He also must stay under house arrest and wear a GPS device.
A parent who represented the families affected by the situation Wednesday said the children show “extensive” signs of trauma.
Meanwhile, rows of seats were filled by Hakim’s family and friends, who showed support for him. His lawyer said he is married with five children, and played up the fact that he is not accused of rape and instead faces indecent assault and battery charges.
Lise Hansen-Damato, another parent advocate, called the “dismissive nature and minimization” of the events “horrifying.”
The next hearing is set for August 8.
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