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Former Salem gym teacher Daniel Hakim charged with sexually assaulting 10 girls

Former Salem gym teacher Daniel Hakim charged with sexually assaulting 10 girls
Former Salem gym teacher Daniel Hakim charged with sexually assaulting 10 girls 01:47

SALEM – A former gym teacher pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $200,000 bail Thursday on charges that he allegedly sexually assaulted 10 female students while working at Saltonstall School in Salem.

Daniel Hakim, 36, of North Andover was arrested and charged with 32 counts of aggravated indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.Hakin worked for Salem Public Schools from 2015-2018.

"There are 10 total victims on the 32-count complaint before the court. The victims, all of whom are female, report inappropriate sexual contact," said prosecutor Haleigh Reisman.

The judge in Salem Superior Court ordered Hakim to wear a GPS monitoring device if he makes bail.

Allegations against Hakim were first raised in 2018. He was immediately removed from the school and suspended pending the outcome of an investigation. Hakim never returned to the district, and he was "separated from service" at the end of the school year.

At the time, the Department of Children and Families deemed the allegations "not prosecutable."

Hakim's teaching license was revoked by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2020.

In 2021, another student came forward with an allegation against Hakim from a 2016 incident. The accusation led to charges on seven counts.

School officials held a forum with parents following Hakim's arrest, which they say prompted additional students to volunteer information to police.

After investigating new allegations, Salem Police arrested Hakim on new charges June 14.

Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, Police Chief Lucas Miller, and Superintendent of Schools Stephen Zrike issued a joint statement Thursday after the new charges were announced.

"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 statement read. 

"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."

Two mothers who have been advocating for years to support the alleged victims showed up for Hakim's arraignment.  

"He stood there with a smirk on his face in an effort to be charming," Elizabeth Nash Wrenn said.

"They are warriors and they have been brave," she said about the victims. "They are children who have been victimized and show extensive signs of trauma, and have been incredibly brave in a very, very scary situation."

Defense attorney Syrie Fried said the accusations are not more serious than inappropriate touching. 

"There's not a rape allegation here for example," she said. 

That didn't ease the concerns of some parents.

"We're talking about 6,7 and 8-year-old children, so to minimize this by saying there was no penetration is horrific," said Lise Hansen-Damato, a mother with a child at the school.

Before working in Salem, Hakim also worked at schools in Wilmington and North Andover. 

"Certainly if there are any other victims out there, we want to know about it, both so that we can enhance the criminal case, and anybody who was victimized, hopefully we can get them some help," Salem Police Chief Lucas Miller said.

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