Former Eagleton program director charged with misleading officer


PITTSFIELD — The former program director of the Eagleton School has been charged in connection with allegations of abuse that shuttered the school last month.

James R. Yeaman, 61, of Lee, is the eighth former staff member to be arraigned in Superior Court after being indicted by a Berkshire grand jury; he is the 17th overall to be charged.

Unlike most of the other defendants, Yeaman is not facing charges that he personally harmed any of the students. He is accused of giving a false statement to court officials on June 26, 2013.

The allegations of abuse by caretakers at the former school for boys and young men with special needs prompted a multi-agency raid of the campus in late January, which led to the criminal charges and, ultimately, the school's closing in April.

Eight other former staff members were arraigned in Southern Berkshire District Court on charges connected to the case earlier this week and a warrant has been issued for a ninth who failed to appear for his arraignment. All of those defendants were charged with various types of assault and battery.

Most of the eight who have been indicted also face assault charges, with the exception of Yeaman and 41-year-old Debra A. Davis, who faces a lone count of witness intimidation.

Yeaman pleaded not guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Thursday to one count of misleading a police officer. He was released on his own recognizance by Judge John Agostini.

The remaining six Superior Court defendants are: Roscoe R. Adams, 36, Juan Lopez-Lucas, 24, Peter H. Meadow, 51, Brian Puntin, 48, Jose O. Valqui, 51, and James Swift, 55.

It is not clear when or if the lower court cases will be submitted to the grand jury for consideration to be moved into Superior Court.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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