Mass. senate leader to step aside amid husband's misconduct probe

BOSTON -- A spokesman says Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg has agreed to step aside as leader of the chamber during an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations surrounding his husband, Bryon Hefner.

Rosenberg had previously planned to remain on as Senate president but recuse himself from all matters related to the investigation. But on Monday he informed colleagues just prior to a Democratic caucus that he would not serve as president during the probe, though he will remain in the Senate.

The Senate is likely to vote Monday to authorize the appointment of an independent investigator whose focus likely would be on whether Rosenberg knew about Bryon Hefner's alleged behavior, or if Hefner had any clout when it came to Senate matters.

Rosenberg has not been accused of wrongdoing. He expressed shock over the allegations and maintained Hefner exerted no influence on the Senate. reports Hefner is accused of sending an unsolicited nude photo to someone who works in state politics. The picture was reportedly sent in a text message earlier this year. 

According to CBS Boston, the new claim follows accusations by four other men who say Hefner sexually assaulted and harassed them over the past several years. The men say they didn't report the misconduct at the time because they feared backlash from Rosenberg.

The Boston Globe first reported that Hefner sexually assaulted or harassed the men. 

Rosenberg says Hefner will soon begin in-patient treatment for alcoholism.