Choosing not to stand two more criminal trials for allegations of inappropriately touching women who worked for him, former Everett schools superintendent Frederick F. Foresteire on Wednesday pleaded guilty to two felony charges of indecent assault and battery, prosecutors announced.
The 79-year-old’s decision to change his plea comes a week after he was sentenced to 90 days in jail for touching a 41-year-old payroll clerk’s buttocks when she worked for him at the Everett Public School administration building in 2017 and 2018. After three days of hearing disputing accounts from both Foresteire and his accuser, a Malden District Court jury on Feb. 9 found Foresteire guilty of two felony counts of indecent assault and battery. He was placed in state custody the same day.
On Wednesday, Foresteire pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two other women, then 47 and 64, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said in a statement.
“The defendant was the supervisor of both women at the Everett Public School Department in 2015 when he indecently touched them,” Ryan said.
Foresteire’s two new convictions do not result in additional time in jail. Judge Emily A. Karstetter sentenced Foresteire to 18 months in the Middlesex House of Correction but suspended the sentence for one year, court documents show.
The law requires that Foresteire register as a sex offender.
Duplicating the terms and conditions of his original sentence, Karstetter ordered Foresteire to stay away from the victims and the witnesses in the cases, as well as Everett public schools and school events.
Foresteire’s defense lawyer, Gerard Malone, declined to comment when reached by telephone Wednesday.
At trial, Malone told jurors the 41-year-old woman made up her story. Foresteire took the witness stand and vehemently denied all allegations of touching or groping the woman.
“He did not do these things, and he told you he did not do these things,” Malone said in his closing arguments.
Foresteire, a lifelong resident of Everett, was the superintendent from 1989 until December 2018. He retired after he was placed on leave — one month after his trial accuser filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria said in a statement: “I have a tremendous amount of respect for the victims who had the strength and courage to come forward and I am glad that they had the important opportunity to be seen and have their stories heard in a meaningful way.
“I hope that the offender being held accountable for his crimes helps those victims to start their healing process,” he said. “No one in Everett should have been subjected to this type of abuse.”
At trial, the distressed woman told jurors that Foresteire regularly made unwanted comments and advances toward her. He incessantly put his hand around her waist and would let it creep down to her buttocks. She described trying to avoid Foresteire’s advances in the school administration building as a game of cat and mouse.
She said she didn’t tell anyone, including the police, because she was embarrassed and ashamed and intimidated by the power Foresteire wielded.
“Mr. Foresteire had his hand in everything, in the police, the whole city, it’s almost like he was the mayor of the city,” the woman told jurors. “Mr. Foresteire was almost more powerful than the mayor.”
The woman’s name is being withheld by the Globe because she is a victim of assault.
The three victims declined comment Wednesday through their attorney Mark Rotondo.
“His statements in open court admitting what he did to them and the plea of guilty speaks for itself,” Rotondo said.
Over three decades as superintendent, Foresteire built a small-city political empire. Members of the School Committee tasked with overseeing him would not challenge him since he had recruited many of them to run, two past members acknowledged to the Globe.
Foresteire had maintained his innocence and convinced many in Everett that he was wrongly accused.
Foresteire long went unchallenged on allegations that, the police report makes clear, had been reported to school officials as far back as seven years earlier.
As recently as last fall, Foresteire maintained a shadow presence in city politics, helping a slate of four candidates win election to the School Committee and hosting an election watch party at his house.
One of the successful candidates acknowledged in April that he still turns to Foresteire for campaign advice, setting aside the disputed allegations to draw on his institutional knowledge.
“I have the utmost respect for Mr. Foresteire, the former superintendent,” Michael Mangan told the Globe. “In terms of anything else he’s involved in — that’s between himself and the courts.”
Mangan, now chair of the School Committee, did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
Foresteire had already survived three scandals. In 1992, he paid a $250 fine to settle an ethics complaint that he arranged for a school employee to paint a School Committee member’s apartment for free. He was fined $6,000 for a 2008 ethics violation for having school employees perform free and discounted construction work on his home during school time. In 2004, he was indicted in state court for allegedly having air conditioners installed at his house at school expense, a case that was continued without a finding.
Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.