Four men have accused Bryon Hefner, whose husband is state Senate President Stan Rosenberg, of sexual assault or harassment.
The Boston Globe reports that three of the men claim Hefner grabbed their genitals, while one man said Hefner forcibly kissed him. According to the Globe, there is no evidence that Rosenberg was aware of the behavior.
Similar to many other victims who have come forward during this national reckoning on sexual harassment, Hefner’s accusers remained quiet out of fear for their own careers. The Globe reports that the four men worried about their reputations and futures in politics if they spoke out against Hefner, who could influence Rosenberg. They also hesitated in an effort to protect Rosenberg, whose progressive agenda they respect.
In a statement issued through his attorney, Hefner wrote to the Globe he “was shocked to learn of these anonymous and hurtful allegations.” The statement said Hefner was surprised and that he found it “difficult to respond to allegations by unnamed and unidentified individuals that involve an extended period of time.” In a statement of his own, Rosenberg said he took the allegations “seriously,” and that he had no prior knowledge of the incidents.
Rosenberg, 68, and Hefner, 30, have been together since 2008 and got married in 2016. In 2014, Hefner was accused of mocking former-Senate President Therese Murray online and bragging about his ability to influence lawmakers on Beacon Hill, despite not having a formal job at the Capitol. Hefner again raised eyebrows in 2015 when he reportedly considered a state Senate run to represent Massachusetts’ First District, where he was not a registered voter.
The allegations against Hefner follow the dozen women who spoke out against alleged misconduct they encountered while working on Beacon Hill. Last month, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo launched a formal investigation of the Capitol’s sexual harassment policies. After the initial wave of complaints at the end of October, Rosenberg doubled down on the Senate’s zero-tolerance policy and told reporters it was “working quite well, but we try to be vigilant.”
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