Five Eagleton School staffers arrested, charged with assault, intimidation, obstruction

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PITTSFIELD — Five Eagleton School staffers were arrested and charged Sunday in an investigation of student physical and emotional abuse at the private facility for troubled boys and young men.

The arrests follow a search of the school by more than 50 federal, state and local authorities on Saturday evening.

The arrestees included Brian Puntin, 47, of Lenox Dale; Peter Meadow, 51, of Lenox; James Swift, 54, of Pittsfield; Juan Pablo Lopez-Lucas, 34, of Pittsfield; and Debra Davis, 41, of Great Barrington, Berkshire County District Attorney David F. Capeless said in a news release.

Puntin, Meadow and Swift face a charge of one count assault and battery on a disabled person. Lopez-Lucas is charged with one count assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and one count assault and battery on a disabled person. Authorities accuse Davis of one count intimidation of a witness and one count obstruction of justice.

The District Attorney reports that all parties were released on personal recognizance pending court dates in Great Barrington District Court on Monday morning.

Capeless again praised the law enforcement response, which began at roughly 8:15 p.m. on Saturday.

"The investigators who carried out the execution of the search warrant Saturday night at the Eagleton School should be commended for their professionalism and sensitivity to the students' privacy," Capeless said. "The operation was conducted with minimum presence, and reports back to me indicated that normal operations at the school were not disrupted and the students were unaware of the law enforcement presence."

Thomas L. Weber, the Massachusetts commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, had staff at the school Saturday night during the police investigation.

"The health and well-being of the children at Eagleton School is of utmost importance to EEC," Weber said in the statement issued by the DA's office. "The Department of Early Education and Care is overseeing and actively monitoring the program's operations and will continue to do so to ensure the children remain safe. EEC is working with law enforcement and is conducting an investigation into the program jointly with the Department of Children and Families. EEC will take further action as warranted in response to our on-going investigation."

Those involved in the execution of the search warrant Saturday evening included investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Massachusetts State Police, the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department and local police from the Great Barrington, Williamstown and Dalton Police Departments, all members of the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force. Also participating were personnel from the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services Section and the Digital Evidence and Multimedia Section.


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