Former Eagleton School staffer arraigned on multiple assault charges

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PITTSFIELD — A former Eagleton School staff member was arraigned on multiple charges on Thursday for allegedly assaulting and threatening students.

Isaac H. Harris-El, 41, of Watervliet, N.Y., was arrested at his home on a warrant on April 29, but wasn't brought to Berkshire County for his scheduled May 2 arraignment, according to his attorney, Lori Levinson.

Harris-El was brought to an Albany court on May 3 and, despite waiving rendition to Massachusetts, was held in New York until yesterday, Levinson said.

He faces a total of 15 charges in the case, including assault and battery leading to serious bodily injury, assault and battery on a disabled person and intimidation of a witness. He is one of 17 former staff members who have been charged in the case.

The allegations of abuse of students at the former school for boys and young men with special needs prompted a multi-agency raid of the Great Barrington campus in January and ultimately led to its closing in April.

Harris-El is accused of punching a student in the face and breaking their orbital bone, grabbing another by the throat and telling yet another "whatever happens in our dorm, stays in our dorm" in an attempt to prevent students from reporting the abuse.

He was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court on Thursday on six counts each of assault and battery on a disabled person and assault and battery and one count each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery causing serious bodily injury and intimidation of a witness.

Judge William Rota set his bail at $1,000 with the added condition he have no contact with the alleged victims.

Levinson also represents another former staff member caught up in the abuse investigation, Peter Meadow, of Lenox.

She said she can continue to represent both men without a conflict of interest because the allegations are separate.

Harris-El is due back in court on June 4 for a pretrial hearing.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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