BOSTON (CBS) - Senate President Stanley Rosenberg is making his first public comments since his husband, 30-year-old Bryon Hefner, has been accused of sexual misconduct.
"I was shocked and devastated to learn of these allegations," Rosenberg said.
The bombshell allegations were revealed in an article in the Boston Globe in which four men tell the newspaper that Hefner had sexually assaulted and harassed them over the last few years.
In his brief statement to reporters, Senator Rosenberg appeared to make a personal plea to them. "My heart goes out to anyone who's been hurt and I'm committed to helping anyone who's been harmed," he said.
The men are Beacon Hill lobbyists or advocates who tell the Boston Globe Heffner groped them and made unwanted advances. They feared coming forward because they said Hefner claimed he had influence with Rosenberg and worried it could damage their careers and access to the powerful Senate President.
"I repeatedly made it clear Bryon had no influence over what happens in the Senate. If Bryon claimed to have influence, he should not have said that. It is simply not true," Rosenberg said.
Top Senate leaders are set to hire a special investigator to both review the allegations and determine if there was any undue influence. "We need to understand how this impacted the Senate, who was involved, and if any action needs to be taken to protect the integrity of the body," said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr who expects the special investigator will be appointed sometime next week.
Senator Rosenberg refused to take any questions but grew emotional as he reflected on the last 24 hours, including revealing Hefner is now seeking treatment for alcohol dependence. "Most of the hours have been spent processing those allegations and I continue to do so even as Bryon prepares to enter treatment," Rosenberg said.
Jon Keller Reacts To Rosenberg's Statement
Governor Charlie Baker says he's pleased an independent investigation is going forward and hopes the alleged victims feel empowered to come forward as well. "They can come forward to speak their peace to whoever is running the investigation and feel they can do so without repercussions," Baker said.
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