US & World

What You Should Know About The Decline Of This Powerful Massachusetts Politician

Massachusetts State Senate President Stan Rosenberg, left.
Massachusetts State Senate President Stan Rosenberg, left.
Steven Senne/AP

The fate of former Massachusetts State Senate President, Stan Rosenberg, could rest on the results of an investigation into whether he broke Senate rules, findings which could be made public soon.

At issue is Rosenberg's 30-year-old husband, Bryon Hefner, who recently pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault, criminal lewdness and distributing nude photographs without consent.

Late last year, four men with business before the state, claimed that Hefner sexually assaulted and harassed them, and insinuated that he could help them by using his power over Senate business.

The allegations against Hefner have left Rosenberg's career in shambles. Soon after the claims first surfaced last November, Rosenberg, 68, agreed to step down from his leadership post, pending the results of the investigation by the state's Senate Ethics Committee.

Rosenberg said he "was shocked and devastated" to read allegations that his husband sexually assaulted and harassed the men. He went on to say, Hefner had "no influence over policy, the internal operations of the Senate, or any Senate-related business," and that Hefner was seeking treatment for alcohol dependence. The couple, who have been together since 2008, married in 2016.

Even without the results of the investigation, Rosenberg was permanently stripped of his title earlier this year when it appeared the situation would not be resolved quickly, and after The Boston Globe reported that Hefner had full access to Rosenberg's emails and had meddled in Senate affairs.

The Committee hired a Boston law firm to look into the matter, to determine if any Senate rules were broken. The committee can only take action against a senate member of a staffer and has no jurisdiction over a senator's spouse. Last week, the state paid the law firm, Hogan Lovells $229,511 for its services.

Since stepping down from his leadership post, Rosenberg has been stripped of most of his staff and relegated to a temporary office located in the basement of the 220-year-old State House, a major downgrade from the handsomely appointed Senate President's suite on the building's third floor. Additionally, his pay was reduced from $142,547 to 62,548 a year.

Meanwhile, legal troubles for Hefner have been mounting and he's scheduled to go on trial in March next year.

Despite Rosenberg's popularity within the 40 member Massachusetts State Senate, his chances of ever regaining his former position are nil, although, he is planning to run again for office and maintains strong support.

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