Nine additional former Eagleton School staffers facing assault charges

Posted

GREAT BARRINGTON — Nine more employees at the former Eagleton School have been charged in connection with the alleged abuse and injury to former students of the facility.

Eight were arraigned in Southern Berkshire District Court on Monday. A warrant is out for the arrest of a ninth who did not show up.

This brings to 16 the number of Eagleton employees who have been charged in the case. The residential school for boys with special needs was closed last month following a state-led multi-agency investigation.

Its 42 students have been relocated to other facilities or schools.

A police raid on Jan. 30 triggered the investigation, which, according to state officials, revealed a schoolwide pattern of abuse, reportedly over the course of several years.

The investigation, according to police, remains ongoing.

Four of the defendants charged Monday are from Berkshire County. They are Eric D. Williams, 34, Derek L. Saunders, 42, and Alexis Lopez, 23, all of Pittsfield; and Martin G. Schmidt, Jr., 46, of Lenox.

Williams faces one count of assault and battery and assault and battery on a disabled person. Saunders faces the same charges plus assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Schmidt is charged with three counts each of assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Lopez faces six counts each of assault and battery and assault and battery on a disabled person, as well as one count of assault and battery with intent to inflict injury.

Also arraigned were Michael Bell, 44, of Watervliet, N.Y., who was charged with one count each of assault and battery; Justin Senecal, 26, of Palmer, one count each of assault and battery on a disabled person; assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery with intent to cause injury.

Darien C. Sinclair, 24, of Albany, N.Y., was charged with three counts each of assault and battery and assault and battery on a disabled person and Christopher O. Welch, 24, of also of Watervliet was charged with one count each of assault and battery and assault and battery on a disabled person.

Isaac H. Harris-El, 41, of Watervliet, was also summonsed but did not appear in court.

He faces the most charges: six counts each of assault and battery and assault and battery on disabled person and one count each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, attempting to intimidate a victim or witness and assault and battery with intent to cause injury.

All eight defendants pleaded not guilty and were all released on their own recognizance.

Judge Paul Vrabel scheduled a pre-trial conference in the case for June 9.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


TALK TO US

If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions