Husband of state Senate president accused of sexual misconduct, Globe reports

Senate to hire independent investigator to look into sexual misconduct allegations against Senate president's husband

MA officials called for an independent investigation into accusations that state Senate Majority Leader Stanley Rosenberg's husband used his political connections to sexually harass men, following a Boston Globe report on the claims. Rosenberg, in an earlier statement Thursday, said he had not previously been aware of allegations against his husband. The two met when Hefner took a summer job in Rosenberg's office before he became Senate president, and Rosenberg has credited Hefner will helping him to live openly as a gay man, the Globe reported.

Ahead of his election as Senate leader, Rosenberg defended Hefner amid allegations he used social media to boast of his influence in Senate affairs.

Hefner said in a statement to the Globe it was hard to respond to allegations from unnamed individuals. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, and Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, agreed with the call for an immediate probe.

"I am recusing myself from any matters relating to this investigation and these allegations, and authorizing Majority Leader Harriette Chandler to serve as the majority party lead for this investigation, in consultation with Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and Senate Counsel", he said in a statement. A spokesman for Rosenberg said he did not know who was representing Hefner and Reuters could not immediately reach Hefner for comment.

In a statement to the Globe through his lawyer, Hefner said he was "shocked to learn of these anonymous and hurtful allegations".

Tarr said he is working with Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler to "develop a structure and process to investigate all of the relevant facts and information related to these serious allegations and take appropriate action".

Rosenberg's office said he will address reporters at 3:30 p.m. outside his State House office, about 24 hours after the Boston Globe published a report alleging Rosenberg's husband, Bryon Hefner, groped three men and kissed another against his will. "Frankly, I am appalled by the allegations", Baker told reporters late Thursday. Several also told the newspaper they respected the Rosenberg's positions and achievements. "To the best of my recollection I was not approached by anyone with complaints during or after the alleged incidents made in this article or I would have tried to intervene".

The head of the Massachusetts Senate says he remains committed to greater scrutiny despite long delays on a promised review that many hoped would expand the state's public records law.

Rosenberg and Hefner were married at a private ceremony last September after living together for several years.

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