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Former Massachusetts gym teacher accused of assaulting at least 10 girls

Daniel Hakim was arrested on 32 counts of aggravated indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. The girls were students at the Saltonstall School in Salem.

A former Massachusetts physical education teacher is accused of assaulting at least 10 female students, Salem police said Thursday.

Daniel Hakim, 36, of North Andover, was arrested Wednesday on 32 counts of aggravated indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, according to a police statement.

The girls were students at the Saltonstall School, where Hakim was employed from 2015 to 2018. The school serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Hakim was "removed from the school" in 2018 after "instances of improper conduct" were brought to the attention of Salem Public Schools, police said.

The district reported the allegations to the state Department of Children and Families, the Salem Police Department and the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The state Department of Children and Families investigated the claims and found them to be "not prosecutable," according to police.

Hakim's teaching license was revoked in 2020. And in 2021, another Saltonstall student informed "her parents of improper conduct by Hakim in 2016," police said. Hakim was initially arrested in 2021.

A school district forum notifying families about the arrest and media coverage prompted more students to come forward with additional claims of improper conduct by Hakim, authorities said.

Police investigated the new claims, which led to Wednesday's arrest. Hakim appeared in court Thursday and pleaded not guilty, according to NBC Boston. His family was in the court and had nothing to say as they left, the news station reported.

In a joint statement, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, Salem police Chief Lucas Miller and district Superintendent Stephen Zrike said legal and privacy concerns kept them from sharing the nature of the allegations.

"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," the statement said. "The actions for which Daniel Hakim has been arrested and charged are abominations."