Head of Mass. special needs school settles charges

By Russell Contreras
Associated Press / May 25, 2011

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DEDHAM, Mass.—The founder of a Massachusetts special needs school has agreed to five years of pre-trial probation to settle charges accusing him of interfering with an investigation of mistakenly administered skin-shock treatments.

Matthew Israel, founder of the Canton-based Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, made the agreement Wednesday in Norfolk Superior Court as part of a deal to settle charges that he destroyed evidence and misled the investigation.

Under the agreement, the 77-year-old Israel will resign from the center. He had announced he would retire effective June 1.

Prosecutors say Israel had an employee destroy surveillance tapes from incidents in August 2007 when Rotenberg workers gave the skin shocks to two students after someone posing as a supervisor instructed them to do so in a prank phone call.