One woman has alleged a detailed a story of sexual harassment by former Supt. Fred Foresteire during what was supposed to be a job interview in 2013, disclosing her alleged story to School Committee members in a pointed e-mail to all members last December.
She has exclusively shared her alleged story with the Independent on the condition her name not yet be revealed. Her identity is known to School Committee members and many in the City and she has said she is willing to give her name later in order to support other victims in court.
She also said she has approached Attorney Tara Swartz to let her know she is willing to detail her alleged story under oath if it would help defendants being represented by Swartz in sexual harassment claims against Foresteire and the Everett Schools.
Now out of teaching, the woman said she works in the real estate world in a nearby city. Her 2013 Everett job interview – the very first teaching interview she ever had – was the first of many reasons she left the teaching world, a world she dreamed she would work in for the rest of her life so she could make a difference in the lives of small children.
However, in that very first job interview, she said that despite all her qualifications and preparations, the alleged conversation eventually focused on her anatomy and her wardrobe. She said she was floored when it happened, and she never ended up working for the Everett Schools and decided not to take legal action for fear of being blacklisted.
“It was my first teaching position after graduating from Lesley College,” she said. “The interview with the principal went well and they said it seemed like I was going to get the job – my first real teaching job. I was so excited. The interview with the superintendent was going well too, and they said I would get the job. All the sudden, allegedly the next thing I know we’re talking about my boobs. At first, I didn’t think I heard it correctly. Then we talked for some time about my wardrobe, my cleavage and my boobs again. He allegedly said I could have the job, but I needed to make sure I was prepared for the parameters and requirements. I was shocked beyond belief. I went home and thought about it. I talked to my family and I talked with an attorney, but I didn’t want to bring litigation after my first interview. No other school district would have touched me. I would have been marked, so I let it go. I let it go because when you’re new you’re all by yourself. I was all alone in this. The union isn’t there for you when you’re new. No one in the school system would help me because he was so powerful. He was a very powerful man, I could tell.”
Attorneys for former Supt. Fred Foresteire at Spruce Law did not return multiple calls to comment on the allegation, but Foresteire has remained clear in media interviews that he is innocent of all the claims of sexual harassment made against him.
The story was first discovered by the Independent via a public information request of e-mails to and from the School Committee over the past several months. In that trove of e-mails was one sent to all members from the woman detailed above. The Independent then reached out to her for further comment and verification. In that conversation, she detailed the alleged event from 2013.
In the e-mail, she mentions to School Committee members that Foresteire allegedly called her a “hussy” and said the Everett Schools don’t hire women that dress like “whores.”
That e-mail sparked a conversation between School Committee members afterward.
“Note the ‘hussy’ comment,” wrote Committeeman Frank Parker.
“Wow….another check mark against FFF,” replied School Committeeman Tom Abruzzese, regarding Foresteire.
“Can’t you hear him saying it!” replied Parker.
Abruzzese said last week that the allegation is troubling if true, and that there isn’t much they can say at the moment due to the ongoing investigations.
“Like most of the stuff we’ve heard, it’s deeply disturbing if true, but other than that we can’t really comment on it now, especially with our investigation and the MCAD investigation and who knows what others are coming down the pike. We’re going to be as transparent as possible as this goes on and let the process play out.”
He said they expect the independent School Committee investigation by Attorney Ryan to conclude within the next 45 days.
For the woman detailed above in the job interview, she said it was a humbling experience. She had hoped to work in early childhood education in Everett, and had come for the interview with Foresteire after interviewing with the principal at the school site.
She said it was a very hot day, and the school administration building did not have the air conditioning on. After waiting more than 30 minutes, she said she got very hot and started to sweat due to the heat and her nerves. She decided to remove her cardigan and wear just her modest teacher’s dress into the interview. She said she still doesn’t know if that sparked the alleged conversation or not.
“It wasn’t a sun dress or a nightclub dress and I wasn’t wearing a push-up bra or anything,” she said. “It was a simple teacher’s dress. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve had kids and I’m not flat-chested. I’m just a regular woman. I couldn’t believe it – a hussy is what he allegedly called me. Over the years I’ve reflected on it a lot and with the #MeToo movement, things started building up…I was so excited to be hired by a school system and having to talk about my breasts was so humiliating. Even now, I wear my collar up to my neck. It was just so hot in there and I wanted to be comfortable and relaxed for the interview. Ever since that day, I’ve always been so self-conscious and that’s never gone away.”
The woman said she let the alleged incident stew for years until she picked up a newspaper this past December and saw the story about Foresteire being accused of sexual harassment. That prompted her e-mail to the School Committee. It also prompted her to reach out to Attorney Swartz to let her know that she wanted to help the alleged victims.
She said she is ready to stand up in court and testify to her alleged story, and she said she wants to do it because it’s the right thing to do for all women who have been in her shoes. “You can pass so many tests and jump so many hurdles and you’re so professional and prepared and it all comes down to your cleavage,” she said. “My mother was a teacher and my grandmother was a teacher. I had big dreams of making a difference. Imagine if it were a man and at the conclusion of the interview they told him to unzip his pants in order to talk about what’s going on down there because they want to make sure it’s all appropriate before they hired him. I think there are so many women that just internalize this stuff, and like me, they just walk around their entire life with it.”