A 42-year-old Chelsea man clad in a tee-shirt that said “GOD” on the front allegedly set fire to the Satanic Temple in Salem Friday night and later confessed to the act, telling police that “this is a hate crime” and that worshippers need to be punished, legal filings show.
The details were contained in police reports filed in the case against Daniel Darren Lucey, who was ordered held without bail at his arraignment Monday in Salem District Court on charges of civil rights violation, arson of a dwelling, and causing more than $5,000 in damages to a place of worship.
A not guilty plea was entered for Lucey, who was ordered held pending a dangerous hearing on June 21, according to court records.
No one was hurt in the fire, but three people were present inside at the time, according to the police reports.
One of the reports said cell phone footage showed Lucey allegedly walking up to the front porch of the temple on Bridge Street.
“He places a backpack down on the porch right by the front door,” the report said. “He then pours some sort of liquid down on the porch as he walks back to the stairs. Once on the stairs he empties the bottle and throws it on the porch. He then takes out a lighter and lights the backpack and liquid that he had poured out on fire and walks away.”
Lucey, who was arrested near the scene of the crime late Friday where he stood watching first responders, later allegedly confessed to torching the temple in a police interview after receiving his Miranda rights.
During the interview, a report said, Lucey told police “they’re Devil worshippers, they worship Satan” at the temple and “need to be wiped out.” Police said Lucey “at one point also stated ‘this is a hate crime.’”
In addition, the report said, Lucey admitted he didn’t know people were in the temple when he allegedly set the fire.
The fire was called in at 10:49 p.m., “before it was able to fully engulf” the temple, said Salem police Lieutenant Dennis Gaudet late Friday.
The temple commented on the damage Saturday via Twitter.
“At 10:30PM Friday night, The Satanic Temple HQ was set on fire and a suspect was arrested,” the temple tweeted. “People were inside at the time, thankfully no one was hurt. The entrance suffered extensive damage, and we have begun repair work.”
At 10:30PM Friday night, The Satanic Temple HQ was set on fire and a suspect was arrested. People were inside at the time, thankfully no one was hurt. The entrance suffered extensive damage, and we have begun repair work. If you would like to show supporthttps://t.co/jZ62qOAH04— The Satanic Temple (@satanic_temple_) June 11, 2022
Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.