No jail for Salem on sex charge
Local Taco John's owner gets probation, despite being a repeat offender
Monday, September 24, 2012
The Carroll Taco John’s owner who has been arrested twice for offering a woman money for sex in the past six years will not go to jail for his most recent crime if he abides the terms of his probation, a judge ruled today.
Dan Salem, 61, faced up to two years in prison for a prostitution charge for propositioning a Carroll woman for sex in May. He pleaded guilty to the crime in July.
In a court hearing this morning, District Judge Kurt Stoebe suspended the man’s prison term and ordered him to serve two years of probation and pay about $2,000.
“It’s time to put this behind you, and it’s time for you to move on,” Stoebe said. “I can only imagine the effect this has had on your family. This is the type of offense that people look at — and strangers look at — and they’re scornful.”
Salem cried in court when asked how his recent arrest had affected his wife and children.
“It’s been devastating to them, but they’ve forgiven me,” he said to the judge.
Salem was arrested six years ago on a similar charge. He owns the Taco John’s franchise store in Carroll, and in May 2006 he allegedly offered to pay a woman $150 twice each week for sex at the restaurant, according to the Daily Times Herald archive. Several area women accused him of making the offers at the time.
Salem served probation for that charge as well.
“After the first time, I didn’t think it was my fault,” he told the judge today. “I blamed a lot of things, but I didn’t blame myself. After the second time, with all the damage that I saw I did, I knew the problem was with me.”
Police officers have declined to reveal more details of this year’s crime.
Salem said he recently sought counseling in Minneapolis, and attends individual and group therapy sessions. Stoebe said Salem will likely be required to continue the counseling as part of his probation. It’s unclear what the other requirements will be.
Salem said his business has not suffered because of his arrest. He noted that several of his recently hired employees are women.
A Taco John’s spokeswoman has said the company might end its franchise agreement with Salem if he were convicted of the crime, but Taco John’s officials could not be immediately reached to comment for this article.
Although Salem pleaded guilty a month ago, he was not officially convicted of the crime until today.
“I just want to apologize,” Salem said in court. “To the victim, to my family, to my friends, to the people of Carroll, who I’ve always tried to help.
“I know I’ve disappointed many people, and I am truly sorry.”
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