Senator Stanley Rosenberg stepped down as President of the Massachusetts State Senate on Dec. 4, amid his husband Bryon Hefner’s alleged sexual misconduct.
Rosenberg also serves as senator for the counties of Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester, including the town of Amherst, and has his district office on Prince Street in Northampton.
On Nov. 30, The Boston Globe published an article in which four men alleged that Hefner sexually harassed and assaulted them. According to the article, “Three of the men say Hefner grabbed their genitals (two allege he did so more than once), and one says he kissed him against his will.”
The victims have remained anonymous so they can continue working in the State House.
It was said that Hefner was involved in Senate matters, with the Boston Globe describing his involvement as “a deep knowledge of the day-to-day workings of the Senate, one that goes well beyond what one might know about a spouse’s work.”
The claim was supported by seven of the people interviewed by the Globe, who have had conversations with Hefner.
In a statement issued by Hefner’s attorney, the accused husband of the senator said, “I was shocked to learn of these anonymous and hurtful 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. As one can imagine, it is incredibly difficult to respond to allegations by unnamed and unidentified individuals that involve an extended period of time, particularly in the current environment,” Hefner’s statement read, according to the Boston Globe.
On Dec. 1, a statement was issued in which Rosenberg stated he was shocked and devastated.
Attempts by the Massachusetts Daily Collegian to reach Rosenburg have been unsuccessful.
In a letter sent to members of the Senate on Dec. 4, Rosenberg announced he would take a leave of absence as president during the investigation.
According to MassLive, Sen. Harriette Chandler of Worcester is currently the acting president, and will step down when the investigation is completed. Should Senator Rosenberg not return as president of the Senate, four senators have voiced their interest in the position.
“Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, Sen. Eileen Donoghue, D-Lowell, Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, D-Boston, and Sen. Sal DiDomenico, D-Everett, have all acknowledged interest in the post,” Shira Schoenberg of MassLive said.
Rosenberg visited the University of Massachusetts on Dec. 7 for a scheduled lecture to Professor Ray La Raja’s Political Science 101 “Intro to American Politics” class. An email was sent out to students beforehand asking them not to ask Rosenberg about the current controversy.
“I ask that you do not ask any questions related to the events pertaining to his husband or the broader ‘scandal’ unfolding in the media,” La Raja said in the email. “When I invited him, the intent was to have us learn about representative government and I would like us to stick to that.”
Abigail Charpentier can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @abigailcharp.