BOSTON (WHDH) – The attorney general and the Suffolk County district attorney announced Monday afternoon that they are opening an investigation into Bryon Hefner, the husband of Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst).
Rosenberg said he is stepping down from his position while his husband is under investigation for sexual assault. He made the announcement in a letter to his leadership team in a morning meeting Monday. The leave of absence is reportedly effective immediately. Rosenberg is not resigning his senate seat.
“I believe this is in the best interests of the Senate,” Rosenberg said in the letter. “I want to ensure that the investigation is fully independent and credible, and that anyone who wishes to come forward and feel confident that there will be no retaliation.”
Several men came forward accusing Hefner of sexual assault and misconduct. The men also said Hefner bragged about the influence he had over Senate policy decisions because of his marriage to Rosenberg.
“We need to be about protecting the institution of the Senate and protecting the integrity of any investigation,” said State Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover).
Rosenberg has asked that the Senate appoint an “acting president” while he steps down. Democrats caucused for hours behind closed doors Monday to discuss the future leadership of the Senate. They eventually voted to appoint State Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) the acting president of the Senate.
“I don’t have to tell you how turbulent and tragic and surprising and very sad the last four days have been for all of us,” said Chandler.
Statement from Gov. Charlie Baker:
“Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito believe the Senate President’s decision to step down is the right one at this time and await further information from the Senate regarding future leadership.
The Administration fully supports Attorney General Healey’s and District Attorney Conley’s decision to open an investigation and urges the Senate to do everything in its power to structure an independent investigation to ensure safe reporting without fear of retribution. The Baker-Polito Administration has a zero tolerance policy for harassment of any kind in the work place and believes all employers must create a safe reporting process for their employees.”
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