Judge weighs prosecutor access to Senate ethics probe info

Mass. Senate President Stan Rosenberg (Western Mass News file photo)

Former Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg has announced his resignation from the Senate.

The Amherst Democrat said in a statement that his resignation would be effective Friday at 5 p.m.

The move comes after months of conflict involving his estranged husband, Bryon Hefner, and a day after the release of the Senate Ethics Committee’s scathing report.

This announcement is pretty shocking, but Rosenberg has been under mounting pressure to step down after that report was released yesterday and now, the announcement has finally been made.

Earlier today, we rang the doorbell to Rosenberg’s Amherst home hoping to get comment from him following the announcement.

In November, it was reported that four men accused Rosenberg’s now estranged husband, Bryon Hefner, of sexual harassment, allegedly willing to trade his influence with Rosenberg in return for sexual favors.

In December, Rosenberg voluntarily stepped down as Senate President while an ethics probe began into his possible role in the scandal.

By January, Rosenberg and Hefner had separated.

In March, Hefner was indicted on charges of sexual assault and distributing nude photographs among others. He faces the possibility of up to five years in state prison.

No one opened Rosenberg’s door Thursday, but a person identified herself as a tenant and spoke to us through the closed door.

The person said Rosenberg was not there and she advised us to contact his offices.

In a statement released this afternoon, Rosenberg wrote in part: "I had hoped that, with the conclusion of the investigation, I would be able to focus, once again, on representing my constituents and contributing meaningfully to the work of the Senate. In light, however, of the disciplinary measures recommended by the Ethics Committee, it would not be fair to my constituents to have a representative in the Senate who lacked the authority to represent their interests fully. I have resigned from my position as State Senator for the Hampshire Franklin and Worcester District effective Friday May 4, 2018 at 5:00 p.m."

Rosenberg has been under mounting pressure to step down, especially after that report released yesterday found he "failed to protect the Senate" from his husband who had those charges filed against him.

The Senate Ethics Committee concluded Rosenberg did not violate any specific rules, but showed a lack of judgment.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey were among those calling for Rosenberg's resignation after the report's release

Rosenberg's full statement appears below:"As I have stated repeatedly over the last 5 months, I deeply regret the difficulties that this situation has created for the members, the staff and the institution of the Senate.

In its report, Hogan Lovells found no conduct by me that violated Senate Rules or state ethics law, no evidence that Bryon influenced my actions as Senate President, and no knowledge on my part of any alleged sexual advances, assaults or attempts by Bryon to influence other senators or staff.

The report does, however, summarize statements from witnesses alleging that Bryon engaged in actions that harmed them and others, and it finds fault with my not having done more to control Bryon’s access to information and to the people who worked in and around the Senate.

Although, as the report notes, I was unaware of many of the events attributed to Bryon, and took steps to address those incidents that came to my attention, that does not diminish my sorrow at what reportedly transpired or my sense of responsibility for what the Ethics Committee concludes was a failure on my part in not doing more to protect the Senate. I have devoted nearly forty years of my life to public service with over 25 years in the Senate, motivated always by the best interests of that body and my constituents. To the extent my efforts fell short, and most especially to all who have been affected by the events described in the Hogan Lovells report, I convey my sincere apology.

I had hoped that, with the conclusion of the investigation, I would be able to focus, once again, on representing my constituents and contributing meaningfully to the work of the Senate. In light, however, of the disciplinary measures recommended by the Ethics Committee, it would not be fair to my constituents to have a representative in the Senate who lacked the authority to represent their interests fully. I have resigned from my position as State Senator for the Hampshire Franklin and Worcester District effective Friday May 4, 2018 at 5:00pm."You can CLICK HERE to read that Ethics Committee report.

Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have the latest as it becomes available.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. All rights reserved.

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