Man Accused of Setting Salem's Satanic Temple Appears in Court

The fire was caught on surveillance camera, and Salem police have said the footage shows Daniel Damien Lucey pouring a flammable liquid on the building's porch and lighting it on fire

Surveillance video shows someone setting a fire at the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts, on Friday, June 10, 2022.
Satanic Temple

The man arrested on suspicion of setting fire to the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts, late Friday, in what he allegedly described as a "hate crime," was arraigned Monday.

Daniel Damien Lucey, a 42-year-old from Chelsea, appeared in Salem District Court to answer to charges of charges of arson, a civil rights violation and destruction of a place of worship. He was ordered held without bail.



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When interviewed by police, Lucey allegedly admitted to traveling to Salem to set the temple on fire. Police said Lucey "made statements that he considered his actions a 'hate crime.'"

A prosecutor alleged in court that Lucey had said "that the people were devil worshippers and he would not lose any sleep over people in the building being hurt."

Police also said Lucey left his backpack on the temple's porch with a copy of the U.S. Constitution, two sticks, lighter fluid and a Bible.

A fire was set at the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts, late Friday night, and a man from Chelsea was arrested

The fire was caught on surveillance camera, and Salem police have said the footage shows Lucey pouring a flammable liquid on the building's porch and lighting it on fire. The building was evacuated and the Salem Fire Department put out the blaze.

"We have a pretty tight security system here and I had gotten an alert that someone was on the premises," Lucien Greaves, the temple’s co-founder and spokesperson, told NBC Boston over the weekend.

He posted images to Twitter of the footage, showing a man in a gray T-shirt adorned with the word "GOD."

Greaves described what he saw in the footage: "Like an idiot, he lit the stairs on fire first and then walked over to the door, threw the fire to light the door on fire and then back though the fire he already lit on the stairs and then walked across the street to watch it. So he's not terrible bright, apparently."

The front porch of the Temple — an advocacy group for the separation of church and state that claims hundreds of thousands of members worldwide — was damaged but no one was hurt. Investigators found that the fire was deliberately set.

Several people called 911 about the fire around 10 p.m. Friday. Police found the front porch up in flames when they arrived and tried to put it out with fire extinguishers, but were unsuccessful.

The Satanic Temple is an advocacy group that pushes for the strict separation of church and state and other civil rights issues, filing lawsuits that seek representation for its members' satanic beliefs in government forums the same way other religions have their tenets recognized. It claims about 600,000 registered members around the world.

Salem police say there is a suspect in custody in connection to the fire at the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts.

Last month, following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Boston violated the free speech rights of a conservative activist seeking to fly a Christian flag outside, the Satanic Temple requested to fly a flag of its own over the building downtown.

Over the weekend, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll condemned the attack as hateful and not representative of the city.

"I am enormously grateful for the quick and professional response by the Salem Police and Fire departments to last night’s criminal arson attempt and share our community’s relief that no one was hurt in this awful incident," she said in a statement. "We condemn this hateful attack. Salem is a welcoming place, and the actions of this individual are not reflective of who we are or our values as a community.”

NBC/The Associated Press
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