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Teen Accused of High School Internet Threat Arraigned

Staff Reports
iBerkshires
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An Adams man accused of making threats on Facebook against Drury High School students last week was arraigned on multiple charges Monday morning in Northern Berkshire District Court.

Zachary Barbeau, 19, of Commercial Street appeared before Judge Paul Vrabel.

Barbeau had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of threatening the use of a deadly weapon and causing disruption of a school, threat to commit murder and disruption of a public assembly.

Vrabel released him on personal recognizance; he will be back in court on Dec. 13 for a bind-over hearing.

Barbeau was arrested on Thursday after police tracked the Internet service provider address connected to the Facebook threat. The alleged threat was discovered on Thursday, Nov. 10, and Barbeau, a 2008 Drury graduate, was arrested later that day.  

The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, state troopers assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and members of the North Adams and Adams Police departments. 
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Two Arrested In Drug Raid On Williams College Campus

Staff Reports
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Police arrested two individuals on drug charges after raiding a Williams College residence on Wednesday.

Angel Oritz, 19, of Bronx, N.Y., and Cristine Ihara, 21, of Gardena, Calif., were charged with possession of Class D substance (marijuana) with intent to distribute, possession of a Class B substance (Dilaudid) with the intent to distribute and drug violation in a school zone, according to police. They were released on personal recognizance pending arraignment in Northern Berkshire District Court on Wednesday.

Police said they raided Dodd House, where the two lived, on Wednesday night. Officers recovered multiple small bags containing marijuana, a bag of Dilaudid tablets and two bags filled with a "unknown powdery substances." One of those substances being blue and the other being white.

Police also say they recovered numerous pill bottles containing different prescription pills, paraphernalia items used for packaging, a scale and paraphernalia for personal use of illegal drugs.

Dodd House, on Mission Park Drive on the Williams campus, is located less than 1,000 feet from Williamstown Elementary School.
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Facebook Threat Regarding Drury High Leads to Arrest

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
Updated Nov. 10, 2011, at 5:23 p.m. and rewritten throughout; updated with further clarification on the reported "lockdown" at 9:16 a.m., Nov. 11.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Drury High School officials took extra safety precautions and police arrested a suspect Thursday afternoon after someone posted a threat on social media site Facebook earlier in the morning.

Local officials were mum on details early Thursday but a statement from the superintendent's office said an incident had occurred but there was no evidence that there was any imminent danger to the people in the building. Classes resumed as normal but after-school activities were canceled for a faculty meeting.

According to the district attorney's office, Zach Barbeau, 19, of Adams was arrested in connection with the threat. He was charged with single counts of threatening the use of a deadly weapon and causing the disruption of a school, threat to commit murder, and disruption of a public assembly. He was released pending arraignment in Northern Berkshire District Court on Monday morning.

Barbeau, a former student, allegedly posted the threat on a fictitious account. Investigators with the state police assigned to the district attorney's office and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force as well as North Adams and Adams police collaborated with Facebook and Verizon Internet Services to track the posting to Barbeau's address.

Investigators say he did not have access to a gun and had no intention of carrying out the threat.

After the threat was posted, school officials say they took additional safety measures while police investigated the claims. The district attorney's office said the school was put on lock down; the superintendent's office said that was not the case.

According to a student, who did not wish to be named, police were not allowing students to drive up to the school after classes began and the K9 officer and dog were in the school.

Students were not allowed to use their cell phones nor were they allowed to be in the hallways without permission; several were told to stay away from the windows. Existing rules, such as the school district's cell phone policy, were being followed, according to the superintendent's office, and reports of a K9 officer inside the school and other police action was incorrect.

The rumor was that it was another student who had posted the threats. And while the regular rules may have been enforced, the atmosphere was charged.

"It was tense ... it was like high maintenance," said the student.

Several parents posted on Facebook that they went to the high school and removed their children. According to the superintendent's office, 20 students out the 554 enrolled at Drury were dismissed early.
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Pittsfield Firefighter Sues City Over Promotion

Staff Reports
iBerkshires
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The U.S. Justice Department has filed a complaint against the city claiming officials had violated federal laws when firefighter Jeffrey Rawson was denied a promotion because he missed work while serving in the Navy Reserve.

Rawson, backed by the Justice Department, is suing for retroactive back pay, benefits, seniority and the promotion that he would have received if he had gotten a lieutenant job in September 2010. The lawsuit states Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski cited absenteeism as the reason for denying the promotion and giving the promotion to the firefighter who scored just below Rawson on a November 2009 promotion test.

"No servicemember should be prevented from advancing in his or her civil career because of military duties," Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez said in a press release on Wednesday. "The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting the rights of those who, through their bravery and sacrifice, secure the rights of all Americans."

According to media reports, Rawson was called to active military duty from October 2007 until November 2008, from February to June 2009 and from July to September of 2009 and the promoted firefighter had an "exemplary work record with minimal use of sick leave." Rawson claims the city violated federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against military reservists.

Additionally, Rawson claims the city refused to reinstate him on the promotion list after he complained to the U.S. Labor Department’s Veterans Employment and Training Service.
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