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Rosenberg’s husband indicted on sexual assault charges

  • BRYON HEFNER BRYON HEFNER

  • In this Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 file photo, Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg speaks to reporters outside his office at the Statehouse to reporters in Boston. The Thursday, March 29, 2018 indictment of Bryon Hefner, Rosenberg’s husband, came months after The Boston Globe reported on allegations that Hefner sexually harassed or abused several men, some of whom had business before the Legislature. AP Photo/Bob Salsberg



@BeraDunau
Thursday, April 05, 2018

BOSTON — Bryon Hefner, the husband of state Sen. Stan Rosenberg, was indicted March 29 on felony charges of sexual assault, distributing nude photos without consent, and criminal lewdness.

“These are serious charges,” Rosenberg said in a statement. “They are now being handled by the judicial system. I have faith in that system and trust that it will adjudicate this case fairly.”

Rosenberg, D-Amherst, who served as Senate president from 2015 until he stepped down in December when accusations against his husband surfaced, announced his separation from Hefner in January. They were married in September 2016.

Hefner, 30, has been indicted on five counts of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over, one count of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior and four counts of dissemination of a visual image of a nude or partially nude person. The offenses are alleged to have occurred between 2014 and 2016 in Boston. He is set to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on April 24.

“This joint investigation revealed a disturbing pattern of conduct that was not only inappropriate but criminal,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said in a statement. “No one, regardless of who they are or where they work, should have to endure the assaults and exploitation alleged in these indictments.”

Hefner’s attorney told the Associated Press he “intends to plead not guilty and looks forward to contesting the evidence and confronting the witnesses against him in a court of law.”

The indictment came months after The Boston Globe reported on allegations that Hefner sexually harassed or abused several men, some of whom had business before the Legislature.

Hefner is alleged to have assaulted one victim on three separate occasions. He is alleged to have assaulted a second victim and exposed his genitals to that person, and to have assaulted a third victim.

Hefner also allegedly shared with four other people nude and partially nude photos of a person without the person’s knowledge.

“Today’s indictments on multiple felony charges send a clear message that we will not tolerate behavior of this kind,” state Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. “I want to thank the victims who have come forward and put their trust in us.”

Conley said in his statement his office would support the alleged victims in the case and protect their privacy “to the greatest degree possible.” His office is working with Healey’s office on the investigation.

All charges are felonies, and possible penalties for each range from two years in county jail to five years in state prison.

Senate President Harriette Chandler, D-Worcester, said in a statement that the Senate would cooperate fully with the investigation.

“These charges are deeply disturbing, and I thank the victims for their tremendous bravery in coming forward,” Chandler said.

The Senate is conducting its own investigation into whether Hefner interfered with Senate business.

Chelsea Kline, of Northampton, who announced Wednesday that she would challenge Rosenberg in the Democratic primary for the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester seat, also released a statement in response to the indictment.

“I believe the survivors. Today is about them, and I applaud their courage in coming forward,” she said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.