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The iconic eagle fiercely guards the grounds of the Eagleton School on Route 23 in Great Barrington at the Monterey border.

Two Eagleton School employees arraigned on further charges of abuse, witness intimidation

By Monday, Apr 25, 2016 News

Pittsfield — Two employees of Eagleton School were arraigned Monday (April 25) in Berkshire Superior Court in the midst of an ongoing criminal investigation into allegations of staff abuse of students and administrative cover-ups at the Great Barrington-based school for boys and young men with autism or developmental delays.

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Debra Davis at her first arraignment in February.

Debra A. Davis, 42, of Great Barrington was charged with a second count of intimidation of a witness. Davis was one of the first five employees arrested in January and arraigned in Southern Berkshire Court for both the intimidation charge, and also a charge of destroying video evidence of abuse. This second arraignment was based on new charges as of April 7 according to the court clerk’s office. Davis was released on her own recognizance and given a pretrial hearing date of September 29.

Roscoe R. Adams, 37, of Pittsfield, was charged with abuse of a disabled person, permitting abuse of a disabled person, and intimidation of a witness. Adams was also released on his own recognizance. A May 3 pretrial hearing was scheduled.

The school was shut down by the state last month after the Great Barrington Police Department was called to attend to a string of abuse complaints and began an investigation which the Berkshire County District Attorney’s office and State Police picked up. A January 31 raid on the school by some 50 police and investigators coincided with the first five arrests. It kicked off a series of state interventions that led to students being moved and the school shut down after its licenses were revoked over what the state said was a systemic culture of staff abuse of students and subsequent cover-ups of that abuse.

Eagleton founder and director Bruce Bona. Photo; David Scribner

Eagleton founder and director Bruce Bona. Photo: David Scribner

The school had 24-hour video surveillance that police have accused employees of tampering with to delete evidence of certain incidents. The school’s licenses were pulled by the state’s Early Education Commission (EEC), which documented multiple incidents, among them students being struck while held in restraints.

The school’s 40 acres of land and buildings on Route 23 near the Monterey border are now for sale.

It is unclear whether criminal charges are forthcoming against Executive Director Bruce Bona or former Program Director James Yeaman.


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