His Husband Was Accused of Sexual Misconduct. Now He's Stepping Down as Massachusetts Senate President.

by | December 6, 2017

By Gintautas Dumcius

Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg is stepping down from his position for the duration of the investigation after bombshell sexual misconduct allegations against his husband Bryon Hefner, a Senate aide confirmed to The Republican/MassLive.com.

The State House News Service first reported that Rosenberg, in a letter that was shared with members of his leadership team at morning meeting Monday, said he intended to take a "leave of absence as your president, effective immediately" for as long as the investigation lasts.

Rosenberg was elected Senate president in January 2015. He is the first Jewish and first openly gay lawmaker to lead the state Senate.

Rosenberg, D-Amherst, married Hefner in September 2016.

The Boston Globe on Nov. 30 reported on four men who work in politics alleging Hefner groped, and in one case kissed against their will, while he was Rosenberg's fiance.

The next day, Rosenberg read from a statement to reporters saying Hefner has "no influence" on the workings of the state Senate. He said Hefner was also seeking treatment for alcohol dependence.

Senators moving to hire an independent investigator.

MassLive reported on Dec. 3 that Hefner earlier this year mistakenly sent an unsolicited picture of another male's genitalia to someone who works on Beacon Hill, according to that person.

Massachusetts senators this week moved to start up a structure for an independent investigation into the allegations reported by the Globe.

Hefner told the Globe he was shocked by the allegations. "To my knowledge, no one has complained to me or any political or governmental authority about these allegations which are now surfacing years afterward," he said in a statement to the newspaper.

Senate Democratic leaders met this morning in the office of Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler, D-Worcester. As they walked out of Chandler's office to head to a meeting with the full Democratic caucus, the senators declined to comment to reporters.

"We're going to have a conversation," said Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, D-Boston.

Shira Schoenberg of The Republican contributed to this story.

(c)2017 MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.