BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — SALEM — A Level 3 sex offender charged originally with raping a woman he’d worked with at a Salem bar pleaded guilty to two lesser charges on Tuesday and walked out of court a free man.
Stephen Foley, 52, who was living in Salem at the time of the August 2010 incident, pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault and battery and was sentenced to 2 to 21/2 years in state prison. But because he had spent that length of time in custody while awaiting trial, his sentence was deemed served by Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley.
The rape charges were dropped by prosecutors.
The sentence, which also includes three years of probation, which started Tuesday, was the result of a plea agreement reached between prosecutor Kristen Buxton and defense lawyer Rebecca Whitehill.
The victim in the case told police that she had agreed to go with Foley to a friend’s home in Peabody after working a shift as an entertainer at O’Neill’s, a downtown Salem bar. She told police she awoke to find Foley engaging in sexual acts as he stood over her.
On Tuesday, as the case was about to go to trial, the woman decided she did not want to testify, however, leading to the plea agreement.
Foley is a Level 3 offender, deemed at the highest risk of reoffending, due to convictions for rape of a child with force in 1982 and 1986 and a 1985 conviction for the rape of a Salem State student.
Prosecutors had tried to keep him committed at the end of his sentence for the 1985 rape, arguing that he was a sexually dangerous person, officials said after his arrest.
Foley was also charged by Salem police with failing to register after telling them that he was homeless, when police believed that he was actually living with a sister on Parlee Street. That charge was dismissed on Tuesday following a separate hearing in Salem District Court.
Foley will be required to wear a GPS ankle bracelet to track his whereabouts while he is on probation for the next three years. He was also ordered to re-register as a sex offender.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.