Senate Prez Rosenberg: Bryon Entering Rehab

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BOSTON — Senate President Stanley Rosenberg emerged today to address the media, a day after a series of explosive allegations surfaced claiming that his civil-law husband acted on Rosenberg’s Beacon Hill clout to sexually assault at least four men.

“As you know, I never hesitate or shy away from questions, but because of the imminent investigation, I’ve been advised not to answer any questions at this time,” the Amherst Democrat said after giving a brief statement regarding the decision of his civil-law husband, Bryon Hefner, to seek inpatient care for an apparent alcohol-related problem.

The Amherst Democrat returning to his home on Beacon Hill:

“Our hearts must go out to anyone that’s been hurt,” Rosenberg said at the beginning of his brief appearance before reporters, which lasted just a little more than two-and-a-half minutes. “I encourage anyone, anywhere, anytime, to come forward.

Bryon Hefner. (Facebook)

“We in the Senate maintain a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment, and we always encourage people to come forward to any authority they feel comfortable with without any fear of retaliation. My heart goes out to anyone that may have been hurt, and I’m committed to helping anyone who has been harmed. This has been the most difficult time in my political life, and in my personal life. As Senate President, my concern is for the senators, the staff, and all those who have business before the Senate. I’ve repeatedly made clear that Bryon [Hefner] was to have no influence on what happens in the Senate. He has no influence over policy, the internal operations of the Senate, or any Senate-related business. If Bryon claimed to have influence over my decisions, or over the Senate, he should not have said that. It is simply not true, and I’m looking forward to cooperating with the investigation, I’m looking forward to their findings, and I’m confident that the investigation will find that Bryon had no influence on the working of the Senate.”

Rosenberg called the last 24 hours “heartbreaking.”

According to a Boston Globe investigation, Hefner bragged about his influence on Beacon Hill during several instances in which he grabbed the genitals of at least three men and kissed a fourth against his will.

On Thursday night, shortly after the allegations surfaced, Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) announced that an independent special investigator would be brought in to try to flesh out any connections between Rosenberg’s office and Hefner’s actions.

Rosenberg’s appearance on Friday involved a podium being installed directly in the doorway of his Senate office, giving the powerful Democrat the ability to avoid walking past the dozens of reporters and cameras following his remarks.

A follow-up report by Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham, who broke the initial story Thursday, indicates that the alleged victims she interviewed are still fearful about coming forward and are still unsure about how willing they are to cooperate with an investigation.

“The men, who all work in politics, said they felt powerless to complain to Senate leaders, or to the police, afraid that doing so would harm their work and compromise their careers,” Abraham wrote.

Both Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, and Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, have called for an immediate investigation.

In her follow-up, more clues emerged as to the work relationship between Hefner’s accusers and the State House. Abraham had previously indicated that several victims are lobbyists and another is a policy advocate for a nonprofit.

In her report on Friday, Abraham described another victim as an “aide,” but it is as-of-yet unclear whether her description means the individual works or had worked as an aide to a sitting member of the House or Senate.

Rosenberg appeared shaken and visibly emotional during his brief media appearance.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.