The Associated Press

5 Arrested After Massachusetts Residential School Raided in Connection With Abuse Allegations

Officials said the raid was a part of an investigation into accusations of physical and emotional abuse at the Eagleton School in Great Barrington.

Five employees were arrested on allegations of abuse when authorities raided a Massachusetts residential school to treat boys and young men with behavioral problems, officials said Sunday.

According to the Berkshire County district attorney's office, about 50 local, state and federal officers executed a search warrant at the Eagleton School in Great Barrington Saturday evening.

Eagleton is a private residential school for boys and young men with autism and other behavioral disorders or learning disabilities. It opened in 1977.

Authorities arrested Brian Puntin, 47, of Lenoxadale; Peter Meadow, 51, of Lenox; James Swift, 54, of Pittsfield; Juan Pablo Lopez-Lucas, 34, of Pittsfield; and Debra Davis, 41, of Great Barrington.

Officials said the raid was a part of an investigation into accusations of physical and emotional abuse at the school. It's unclear when the allegations were first made, but police said their investigation began in January.

Puntin, Meadow, Swift and Lopez-Lucas face charges of assault and battery on a disabled person. Lopez-Lucas is also charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, while Davis is charged with intimidation and obstruction of justice.

"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," Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless said in a statement. "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."

All five suspects were released on personal recognizance and are due in Great Barrington District Court Monday. It was not immediately clear if the suspects had attorneys.

The school didn't return a telephone message left Sunday by The Associated Press.

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