Bryon Hefner, the husband of Democratic Senator Stanley Rosenberg has been indicted for sexual assault, distributing nude pictures without consent and criminal lewdness.
The indictment came many months after The Boston Globe gave an account of affirmations that Hefner sexually abused multiple men, some of whom had business before the Legislature.
According to prosecutors, between 2014 and 2016, Hefner sexually assaulted three victims. They said he also acquired nude and partially nude pictures of another victim without the knowledge of the victim and sent or showed the pictures to other people.
“Today’s indictments on multiple felony charges send a clear message that we will not tolerate the behavior of this kind,” Democratic state Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. “I want to thank the victims who have come forward and put their trust in us.” (www.triblive.com)
Hefner’s attorney was sent a phone message on Thursday seeking comment but he refused to reply immediately. According to prosecutors, Hefner is set to be arraigned on April 24 in Suffolk Superior Court.
Rosenberg, who is separated from Hefner, said these are “serious charges.”
“They are now being handled by the judicial system,” he said in a statement. “I have faith in that system and trust that it will adjudicate this case fairly.” (www.triblive.com)
Rosenberg announced in January that he is no more with Hefner and that Hefner had entered treatment for alcohol dependency. Rosenberg is in his late 60s while Hefner is in his 30’s.
Democratic state Senate President Harriette Chandler, who replaced Rosenberg as president, called the charges “deeply disturbing.”
“Clearly, the actions described will not be tolerated, and the Senate will cooperate fully with the District Attorney and Attorney General’s Office,” she said in a statement. (www.triblive.com)
A spokeswoman for Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, both Republicans, said they “commend those who came forward to report these despicable actions and believe those who engage in crimes and sexual harassment of any kind must be held accountable.” (www.triblive.com)
The underlying reports that different men had accused Hefner of rape or harassment sent the chamber into disorder before the end of last year, bringing about Rosenberg’s choice to step down.
The Senate Ethics Committee voted to hire a Boston law firm to autonomously investigate whether Rosenberg violated any Senate rules regarding the allegations. That probe is still going on.
A lawyer for Hefner said at the time that Hefner “did not have independent access to his husband’s official email.”
Rosenberg has over and over again said that Hefner did not influence his actions and choices as Senate president.
Rosenberg assumed the top leadership post in January 2015. He was the first openly gay leader of either legislative chamber in Massachusetts.