Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg told senior senators he is taking a leave of absence from his powerful post amid an investigation into allegations his husband sexually assaulted or harassed multiple men, a decision bound to send shockwaves through the State House.
"I believe taking a leave of absence from the Senate Presidency during the investigation is in the best interest of the Senate," Rosenberg said in a statement. "I want to ensure that the investigation is fully independent and credible, and that anyone who wishes to come forward will feel confident that there will be no retaliation.”
Rosenberg sent a letter to Majority Leader Harriette Chandler, informing her that he is stepping away from the presidency.
The Boston Globe last week published allegations from four men that Bryon Hefner groped or forcibly kissed them while boasting of having influence inside Rosenberg's office. All four work in political or State House circles.
Democratic senators are huddling in a closed-door caucus today to address the allegations.
Rosenberg's move will set up a scramble to fill the top post, at least on an interim basis, as the Senate prepares to hire an outside special investigator.
Multiple Senators declined to comment after they left a leadership meeting this morning.
Asked if he's received word that Rosenberg is stepping away, Sen. Mark Montigny told reporters, "Let me go up to caucus and get the letter."
Rosenberg faced mounting pressure to relinquish his post amid the expected investigation, including from Sen. Barbara L'Italien (D-Andover) said on Friday he should not hold the position while the probe is ongoing.
The Herald reported today that jockeying to replace Rosenberg has already begun, with at least three senators lining up votes in case he resigns.
Sens. Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Boston), Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell) and Sal N. DiDomenico (D-Everett) each scrambled over the weekend to line up votes they would need to take the presidency, after L’Italien said she’ll ask Rosenberg to step down at today’s caucus.
Some lawmakers also are now calling for an outside investigation by a law enforcement authority, such as Attorney General Maura Healey, instead of appointing an independent investigator who would answer to the Senate.
After Hefner had embarrassed Rosenberg with unprofessional behavior a few years ago, the Senate president had vowed to establish a firewall between his personal and professional lives. In a statement to reporters Friday during which he described himself as "shocked and devastated" by the allegations, Rosenberg insisted that Hefner, who plans to seek inpatient treatment for alcoholism, has “no influence over policy, the internal operations of the Senate, or any Senate-related business.”
Rosenberg, one of the three most powerful politicians on Beacon Hill, is a 31-year Democratic veteran of the Legislature from Amherst....Read more