Rosenberg says he is stepping down as senate leader during investigation of husband

BOSTON (WHDH) – Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) said he is stepping down from his position while his husband is under investigation for sexual assault.

The State House News Service said Rosenberg 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 Rosenberg’s husband, Bryon 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. The attorney general and the Suffolk County district attorney announced Monday afternoon that they are opening an investigation into Hefner.

“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.