The conviction last week of Frederick F. Foresteire on two counts of indecent assault against a former School Department employee was met with shock and awe throughout the city of Everett.
His immediate handcuffing and incarceration at the Billerica House of Correction marked a new low in the city’s struggles to come to terms with a powerful leader, who ran the School Department with an iron fist, who professed his innocence, but who was found guilty by a jury of his peers.
For the woman who made the accusations, and for the women and men of this city who followed closely Foresteire’s trial, his conviction is only partly satisfying as she must live a lifetime with the detrimental effects of the harassment she endured.
Foresteire was among the most powerful political and administrative figures in the city’s history.
Many assert that he ran the School Department with a heavy hand.
Many more have denounced his dictatorial tendencies, which, they said, led to Foresteire overreaching his position from time to time throughout the years.
Fear of losing one’s job for failure to adapt to Foresteire’s Draconian code was paramount, or so said the victim of his indecent assaults on her over the years.
Two more trials are coming up unless Foresteire decides to plead out to forego the trials, which could end up causing him to do two to three times the amount of time behind bars if he is convicted as he has presently been sentenced.
For the City of Everett, Foresteire’s public trials and tribulations appear to be a grim ending for one of Everett’s formerly most powerful public figures who was highly respected in many corners of the city.
His conviction and incarceration for mistreating a woman who worked for him is not a one off.
The others are afraid to go to court who have such claims in this city about public officials.
The question is asked, can the city change its culture?
Can it morph into a better place where the rights of city employees and residents of gender and color, race and religion are upheld not against the threat of prosecution, but as a matter of the city doing what is right and just?
Good question, isn’t it?
Foresteire’s fall is a disappointment to all those who believed in him absolutely.
Hi conviction of indecent assault for abusing a woman he employed is unforgivable.
It magnifies the cries of those women lined up for trial who claim he was guilty of abusing them.
It reminds us that government and the law must be vigilant to make this city safe for everyone – not just for elected public officials and administrators like Foresteire.
A jury of his peers found him guilty.
The jury’s decision is what the law and justice being served is all about in this nation.
In this instance, Foresteire’s actions, and the jury’s decision, sealed Foresteire’s fate.
Perhaps Everett can move on using this sorry chapter of city history to power itself to reach a better place.
Men and women working for this city must feel safe in their jobs and must feel comfortable and protected in their work environment. To have it any other way is unacceptable.
To be indecently assaulted by a public official in Everett is a crime and should be treated as such.
Victims should not fear coming forward.
The outcome of Foresteire’s trial has proven this.