Four men have accused the same-sex husband of the Massachusetts state Senate president of sexual misconduct.
The Boston Globe reports Bryon Hefner, 30, who is legally married to Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, 68, (pictured) allegedly “sexually assaulted and harassed” four men over the past few years.
“Though three of the alleged incidents took place when Rosenberg was mere feet away, the Globe found no evidence that the Senate president knew about the assaults,” states the newspaper.
The Globe says it interviewed 20 people who know Hefner or his accusers. The report notes an alleged incident in 2015 when Hefner – who at the time was engaged to Rosenberg – appeared at the doorway of a lobbyist’s office as he was about to leave for the evening, and grabbed his genitals.
The man alleged Hefner asked him to “have some fun with him, telling him Rosenberg wouldn’t mind, that Hefner and the Senate president were a team on Beacon Hill, and that they would take care of him,” reports the Globe.
The lobbyist said earlier in the evening Hefner had bragged to him about his clout in state politics and about his influence with Rosenberg.
“Hefner left the man in no doubt that he was asking for sexual favors in return for help on Beacon Hill,” the report states.
According to the Globe, Hefner’s three other accusers also say he grabbed their genitals and one says Hefner kissed him against his will.
The news report states a couple of the alleged victims were worried about reporting the incidents for fear of “hurting Rosenberg, whose progressive priorities they admire.”
“I was shocked to learn of these anonymous and hurtful allegations,” said Hefner in a statement reportedly released by his attorney. “To my knowledge, no one has complained to me or any political or governmental authority about these allegations which are now surfacing years afterward. As one can imagine, it is incredibly difficult to respond to allegations by unnamed and unidentified individuals that involve an extended period of time, particularly in the current environment.”
The Senate president said he had never heard of accusations of sexual misconduct by his husband.
“Even though, based on what little I have been told, these allegations do not involve members or employees of the Senate and did not occur in the State House, I take them seriously,” Rosenberg reportedly said. “To the best of my recollection I was not approached by anyone with complaints during or after the alleged incidents made in this article or I would have tried to intervene.”
According to the Globe, Rosenberg and Hefner have been together since 2008 and “bonded” over the fact that both had spent years in foster care as children. They were legally married in September 2016.
“I would not have come out if he had not come into my life,” Rosenberg said at the time. “It was the greatest gift anyone has given to me.”
In December 2014, however, the Globe had interviewed Rosenberg over reports that Hefner had mocked outgoing state Senate president Therese Murray and had boasted to other senators about his influence with Rosenberg on key decisions.
Rosenberg then told the newspaper he had learned of some of Hefner’s behavior by other senators and had admonished his partner.
“Very clearly, very specifically, he’s not involved in making any of the decisions,” Rosenberg said. “All personnel decisions, all the chairmanships, are going though the normal internal processes.”