Independent Investigator to Spearhead Bryon Hefner Probe

The Senate will hire a special investigator to look into allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Bryon Hefner, whose husband is Senate President Stan Rosenberg.

Stan Rosenberg at a lectern

Senate President Stan Rosenberg, whose husband Bryon Hefner has been accused of sexual harassment and assault. Photo via AP/Elise Amendola

The state Senate will select a special investigator to look into the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Bryon Hefner, husband of Senate President Stan Rosenberg.

On Thursday, the Boston Globe reported that three men came forward with claims that Hefner touched their genitals and another man said he kissed him without consent. The victims, who remain anonymous, said they were concerned the allegations would damage their careers, considering Hefner’s close relationship with the powerful Rosenberg.

Following the revelations, Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler announced late Thursday night that the chamber would take the “unprecedented step” of bringing in an independent special investigator. Chandler called the charges “very serious and very disturbing,” and said in a statement that an unbiased investigation was necessary “to ensure a completely impartial process, and because of these unique circumstances which involve the office of the Senate President.”

Rosenberg, who said he supports the independent probe, has recused himself from the investigation, which will be led by Chandler and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. In a statement released earlier on Thursday, Rosenberg expressed surprise upon learning of accusations, and the Globe found no evidence that he was previously aware of Hefner’s behavior.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey also called for an investigation. Baker told the Globe he was “appalled by the allegations,” and emphasized the necessary immediacy of the pending probe. Healey referred to the allegations as “deeply disturbing” in a statement.

According to Politico, no one has thus far called for Rosenberg to resign from his position in the Senate, though the dynamic could shift should evidence be found that he knew about Hefner’s behavior. Baker skirted the question of Rosenberg’s resignation, the Globe reports, and said only that he has known him for a quarter-century. Separately, Sen. William Brownsberger, a Belmont Democrat, told the Globe he was “certainly not at that point myself” when asked if the Senate president should step down.