The Senate Ethics Committee Just Released its Report on Stan Rosenberg
“Senator Rosenberg failed to protect the Senate from his husband, whom he knew was disruptive, volatile, and abusive.”
Former Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s “significant failure of judgment” harmed his colleagues, he did not effectively maintain a “firewall” between himself and his estranged husband Bryon Hefner, whom he gave “unfettered” access to confidential information, and he violated an IT policy by sharing a private password with him, a long-awaited report from the Senate Ethics Committee has found.
“The ‘firewall’ Senator Rosenberg had promised his colleagues between his private life with his husband, Bryon Hefner, and the business of the Senate was ineffective in restricting his husband’s access to information from Senator Rosenberg’s office,” the committee said in a statement.
The committee said further that Rosenberg “undermined the goal of the Senate’s anti-harassment policy to promote a workplace free from sexual and other forms of discriminatory harassment because he knew or should have known that Hefner had racially and sexually harassed Senate employees and failed to address the issue adequately.”
It did not, however, find that Rosenberg violated any Senate rules, but nevertheless has recommended that he not serve as president and that he not serve in a leadership position through 2020.
“Essentially,” the statement says, “Senator Rosenberg failed to protect the Senate from his husband, whom he knew was disruptive, volatile, and abusive.”
The report’s findings on Wednesday prompted calls for Rosenberg to step down.
“The Senate’s ethics report reveals a deeply disturbing pattern of behavior, making it clear that Senator Rosenberg has compromised the business of the Chamber and trust of his constituents,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a statement. “For the good of the institution and those who elected him to serve, I believe the Senator needs to resign immediately.”
“It’s clear to me that Stan Rosenberg cannot continue to serve in the Senate,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “I think it’s best if he steps down immediately.”
Onetime ally Jamie Edlridge expressed similar feelings in no uncertain terms. “I call on on Senator Stan Rosenberg to resign from his position as State Senator, effective immediately,” he wrote in a lengthy statement on Facebook. “In addition, I urge the Senate Committee on Ethics to recommend stronger punishment for Senator Rosenberg, including immediate censure, and suspension of Senator Rosenberg as a State Senator.”
Allegations first emerged in November that Hefner had harassed and assaulted several men with business before the Senate. A grand jury indicted him late last month on five counts of indecent assault and battery, one count of lewdness, and four counts of distributing photos without consent. He pleaded not guilty last month to five counts of indecent assault and battery, one count of lewdness, and four counts of distributing photos without consent. A trial date has been set for March 25, 2019.
There had not previously been evidence presented that Rosenberg knew of any abusive behavior. Rosenberg, who remains a senator and is campaigning for reelection, stepped aside as Senate president in December.
Still, suspicion had lingered on Beacon Hill amid accusations that, in addition to making unwanted advances, Hefner had been inappropriately wielding the power of his husband’s office.
The committee’s internal investigation has used the services of third party investigators. Records surfaced by the Globe show the Senate’s Committee on Ethics had paid the firm, Hogan Lovells US, nearly $230,000.
In January, it was revealed that Rosenberg and Hefner were separating. Hefner also reportedly entered a program for alcohol abuse.