Lawmaker: Stan Rosenberg Needs To Give Up Senate Presidency During Probe

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By Michael P. Norton
State House News Service

When senators huddle for a private caucus Monday to consider sexual assault complaints lodged against Senate President Stanley Rosenberg’s civil-law husband, state Senator Barbara L’Italien plans to discuss her belief that Rosenberg needs to give up his duties as Senate president while an investigation runs its course.

Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) said Thursday night the plan is for Rosenberg (D-Amherst) to remain as Senate president while an independent investigator, who has not been named, looks into a Boston Globe report that Rosenberg’s civil-law husband Bryon Hefner groped three men and kissed another against his will in social settings related to their work on Beacon Hill.

“I fully agree that an independent investigation is warranted. However, I believe that for the sake of the institution, the Senate President should also step aside from the duties of the Senate Presidency for the duration of any investigation,” L’italian (D-Andover), a candidate for Congress, said in a statement early Friday night. “Any person with information needs to feel safe coming forward. I intend to bring this up in caucus because we can’t be afraid to address this issue as a body. The business of the people of Massachusetts is more important than any one senator.”

Rosenberg on Friday ignored a question about whether he can effectively lead the Senate while an investigator explores the allegations against Hefner, which Chandler has acknowledged involve the office of the Senate president.

Rosenberg also said Friday that Hefner will seek treatment for alcohol dependence and that he is confident an investigation will find that Hefner has no influence on Senate business.

The men who anonymously spoke with the Globe about their interactions with Hefner “did something brave in sharing their stories and I applaud them. Nobody should feel afraid to speak his or her truth,” said L’Italien. “I have known and respected Stan Rosenberg for 15 years and it pains me that this level of transparency is required but I believe that it is warranted.”