By Josh Resnek
During the early afternoon last Thursday a Middlesex County District Court jury finished up its deliberations about the innocence or the guilt of former Everett School Superintendent Frederick F. Foresteire after a three day trial.
The jury informed the court clerk it had reached a decision. Moments later, the jury filed into the packed courtroom in Malden District Court.
Everyone rose with eyes riveted on the jurors as they tried to predict what the decision would be from the expressions worn on their faces.
The unnerving nature of a legal decision about to be revealed nearly always quiets a crowded court room.
“Do you have a verdict?” Judge Emily Karstetter asked the jury foreman.
“Yes we do, your honor.” The verdict was read. “Guilty of indecent assault and battery,” informed the jury foreman.
Foresteire standing next to his attorney never flinched.
A crescendo of hushed oohs and ahhs broke out among the gallery observers in the courtroom.
A moment of collective catharsis engulfed observers inside the court room following the reading of the decision.
Then came the judge’s sentencing and orders.
The judge was strict and to the point.
Foresteire, she ordered, would serve 90 days of an 18-month sentence at the Billerica House of Correction.
She ordered Foresteire to register on the state’s Sexual Predator’s List. She ordered that Foresteire make no visits of any kind to the Everett Public Schools or any school event or sponsored activity.
Foresteire remained stern and stiff, appearing somewhat overwhelmed by the results of the proceedings. The judge ordered that Foresteire be jailed immediately.
Then came the coup de gras.
With his wife of 53 years weeping and in a bit of a shock, one of the two court officers guarding Forestiere moved closer to him.
He asked the former Everett superintendent of schools of 29 years to put his hands behind his back.
The court officer handcuffed Foresteire.
Then they took him away. Foresteire walked with the guards by his side out of the crowded courtroom disappearing behind a closed locked door where he awaited transit to the Billerica House of Correction.
“The defendant in this case used his position of power to victimize one of his employees, assaulting her and repeatedly making her feel unsafe, uncomfortable and powerless at her place of employment,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said in a statement. “Today’s verdict reflects our commitment to protecting this victim and to holding the defendant accountable for his actions,” she said.
Foresteire was found guilty of making unwanted advances and comments and for calling his victim “Miss Argentina” during the nearly two years she worked for the Everett Public schools.
He was also found guilty of two felony counts of touching the woman’s buttocks.
“Wednesday’s conviction was a good day for Everett and a great day for Justice!” Paula Steriti told the Leader Herald.
“The three women who re- fused to settle and refused to be silenced are heroes to the many men and women who were harassed and bullied by the former superintendent and members of the School Department during his reign,” she added.
“What does it say about Everett that victims are forced to leave or resign and forced to sign NDAs so their stories are never heard?” she wondered.
“Without these women coming forward and going to court, we would still be in the dark and the former superintendent probably would still be superintendent – how scary is that?”
What’s really scary, she said, “is that predators and abusers are still employed by the school department and the city.”
Two other women who worked for Foresteire have also brought criminal charges against him.
They claim he cornered and groped them and subjected them to humiliating treatment.
The six-person jury — three men and three women — delivered a split decision of sorts, deciding not to convict Foresteire on allegations that Foresteire twice pulled the woman’s shirt and bra strap off her shoulder, exposed her breast, and one of the times put his mouth on her breast.
Instead, Foresteire was found guilty on two felony counts of indecent assault and battery for touching the woman’s buttocks.
He was acquitted of a third charge, that of assault and battery as well as two misdemeanor counts of assault and battery for the alleged incidents involving the woman’s breasts.
Foresteire faces two more trials.
Judge Karstetter scheduled the next trial for Wednesday.
By the early evening last Thursday, FFF passed through the prisoner intake process.
He ate his first prison dinner.
He was not believed to have been placed in the general prison population due to his age and the nature of his crime.
Later that evening Foresteire was likely made to swap out the suit and tie he wore to court for the Massachusetts Department of Prisons standard issued uniform of sweat pants and sweat shirt.
This was the stunning but not unexpected outcome of Foresteire’s first trial.
Foresteire was unrepentant throughout his trial.
He proclaimed his innocence.
However the emotional testimony of Foresteire’s victim and the evidence presented by the prosecutor, led the jury to find Foresteire guilty of indecent assault.
At Billerica House of Correction, Foresteire is one of approximately 1,150 inmates serving time inside the lock-up.
The jail serves those men and women awaiting trial and serving sentences up to 2 1⁄2 years.
Individuals held there are encouraged to participate in programming designed to allow them to better themselves and prepare for re-entry to society.
Foresteire will be allowed to make calls to family and friends from phones inside the facility as long as the recipients of those calls are willing to accept the charges.
Foresteire cannot receive in- coming calls and or messages delivered in his name to the corrections facility.