December 4, 2017 / 5:54 PM / a year ago

Massachusetts Senate president steps aside as husband faces probe

BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg is taking a temporary leave of absence as his husband faces allegations that he used his political connections to sexually harass men.

Rosenberg, a Democrat, will step aside immediately and will remain away during an investigation by the Senate, he said in a statement on Monday.

“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 wrote.

Last week, Rosenberg, 68, said he supported the investigation and that his husband, Bryon Hefner, 30, was planning to enter an inpatient treatment center for alcohol dependency.

The Boston Globe reported that four unnamed men said Hefner, had groped them or made other unwanted sexual contact. The newspaper said the men asked to remain anonymous for fear that speaking out against the powerful lawmaker’s spouse would endanger their work as political advocates.

Reuters could not confirm the allegations, which the newspaper said stemmed from incidents in 2015 and 2016.

The accusations are the latest in a wave of sexual assault and sexual harassment claims levied against powerful men in U.S. politics, entertainment and journalism.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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