PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A former employee of a now-closed western Massachusetts school for boys with autism and behavioral disorders has been sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to assaulting a student.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that 57-year-old James Swift is the first of nearly 20 former employees of the Eagleton School in Great Barrington to be sent to jail in the case.

Prosecutors say in January 2016, Swift punched a 19-year-old autistic student in the face after the student became upset.

Swift’s arrest sparked state and federal investigations and the school’s closure in April 2016.

Swift’s attorney said Thursday his client is a man of faith and a good person who committed a bad act.

Five other former Eagleton workers previously pleaded guilty, but none was sent to jail.

Information from: The Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle, http://www.berkshireeagle.com

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