December 6, 2017

Ethics panel opens Rosenberg-Hefner inquiry

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State House News Service / file photo

Bryon Hefner, center, at Stan Rosenberg's 2015 inauguration as Senate president.

The Senate Ethics Committee opened its investigation into former Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg Tuesday, promising complete confidentiality to anyone with information about alleged sexual misconduct by Rosenberg’s husband, Bryon Hefner, and taking steps toward hiring an independent investigator that one senator indicated will come from out of state.

The six-member committee, including four Democrats and two Republicans, was empowered by the full Senate on Monday night to begin the investigation into Rosenberg, who stepped down as Senate president for the duration of the investigation with the hopes of returning to his post when it’s complete.

Harriette L. Chandler, D-Worcester, was named acting Senate president on Monday.

The Boston Globe last week published allegations by three anonymous men that Hefner had grabbed their genitals in social settings related to their work on Beacon Hill, and a fourth accused Hefner of kissing him against his will. The men also said that Hefner boasted about his influence over Senate policy decision-making. Rosenberg, D-Amherst, has countered that Hefner has no influence on Senate business and should not have suggested that he did.

Sen. Michael Rodrigues, a Westport Democrat and the chairman of the Ethics Committee, said the committee’s first order of business will be to hire the outside investigator who will be “carefully screened and scrutinized by the
Ethics Committee to ensure a comprehensive and impartial investigation.”

While Rodrigues would not commit to making the ultimate findings of the investigation public, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, said he intended to push for the public release of any reports produced by the investigator or the committee, with safeguards for those who require confidentiality.

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