Friday, December 15, 2017

What the Hef?

Did the Globe set him up?

"Amid reports of harassment, Senate leader says his office has fielded only two complaints" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  November 28, 2017

Although numerous women have described a pervasive climate of sexual harassment in the State House, Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg said Tuesday his office has fielded only two complaints of misconduct in the three years he has led the chamber.

Rosenberg declined to describe the two cases in detail but said both were resolved to the satisfaction of the alleged victims.

One case involved a Senate staffer who complained about a “visitor” to the State House, Rosenberg said. The other case involved a Senate intern accused of harassment, he said. Asked whether the intern was fired, Rosenberg said “options were put on the table” and the aide no longer works in the State House.

None of those accused were senators, he said.

Rosenberg said he believes the Senate’s sexual harassment policies are “state-of-the-art” and effective.

Rosenberg’s comments come amid a national awakening about the prevalence of sexual harassment sparked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

As more women speak out about rampant harassment in media, politics, entertainment, and other fields, Beacon Hill, long considered an old-boys’ club, has come under fresh scrutiny for what many have described as its own culture of inappropriate behavior.

Last month, Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham reported on allegations made by a dozen women who spoke anonymously about the misconduct they have endured in the State House.

Yes, she wrote a couple of articles about the statehouse harassment of women, but she has been silent regarding her own newsroom.

The aides, lobbyists, activists, and legislators told of situations where they were propositioned by men, including lawmakers, who could make or break their careers.....


Maybe they mean all-boys club?

"Four men allege sexual misconduct by Senate president’s husband" by Yvonne Abraham Globe Staff  November 30, 2017

He was a policy advocate who made his living trying to persuade legislators on Beacon Hill to help nonprofit groups, but Bryon Hefner, then the fiance of Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, appeared in his doorway. As the advocate recently described it, Hefner took a step forward, grabbed the man’s genitals, and didn’t let go. He recalled Hefner asking him to have some fun with him, telling him Rosenberg wouldn’t mind, that Hefner and the Senate president were a team on Beacon Hill, and that they would take care of him.

He is like a young Kevin Spacey who strikes when they least expect it.

The advocate tried to do the calculations. Several times before that night, Hefner had boasted to him of his great pull in state politics, and of his influence with Rosenberg. He had described the Senate president’s priorities as what “we” — Hefner and Rosenberg — were trying to accomplish at the State House. The advocate needed Rosenberg on his side. Hefner left the man in no doubt that he was asking for sexual favors in return for help on Beacon Hill.

The advocate, well-known in the insular world of Massachusetts politics, is one of four men who told the Globe that Hefner sexually assaulted and harassed them over the past few years. Though three of the alleged incidents took place when Rosenberg was mere feet away, the Globe found no evidence that the Senate president knew about the assaults.

This account is based on interviews with 20 people who have dealt with Hefner or know his alleged victims.

All of the men said they felt powerless to report the incidents because they feared alienating Rosenberg, with whom they believe Hefner has tremendous influence. Reporting Hefner’s behavior to Rosenberg or the authorities was a career-threatening prospect, they said.

They spoke to the Globe only reluctantly, worried about damaging their work in politics and their reputations. A couple of them also worried about hurting Rosenberg, whose progressive priorities they admire. The Globe granted anonymity to the victims because they must still work with Rosenberg, and interact with Hefner. Each of their stories was confirmed by people who witnessed or talked to the victims shortly after the incidents they described, and, in one case, by e-mails describing the alleged assaults soon after they occurred.

Neither Hefner nor Rosenberg agreed to be interviewed for this story. In prepared statements issued Thursday, each said he was surprised by the claims.

Hefner, 30, and Rosenberg, 68, met when Hefner had a summer job in Rosenberg’s office. They bonded over the fact that each had had a difficult childhood spent in foster care, and they have been a couple since 2008. They were married in September 2016. In a 2014 interview with the Globe, as he was ascending to his current position, Rosenberg called their relationship “deeply committed” and credited Hefner with his own decision to live as an openly gay man.

“I would not have come out if he had not come into my life,” Rosenberg said at the time. “It was the greatest gift anyone has given to me.”

The Senate president sat down for that interview after controversy erupted over Hefner’s involvement in the affairs of the Senate: Hefner had boasted of his influence on leadership appointments and staffing, and was widely believed to be behind insulting tweets targeting outgoing Senate President Therese Murray.


Future is Rosy For Rosenberg
Reservations About Senate President Rosenberg
Globe Ruined Rosenberg's Romance
A Grey-Hearted Valentine From the Boston Globe

Just a look at the past.

In an interview with the Globe at the time, Rosenberg said he had made it clear to his then-fiance that he was not to be involved in any Senate business. In a letter to Democratic senators, Rosenberg wrote: “I have enforced a firewall between my private life and the business of the Senate, and will continue to do so.”

But, according to seven of the people interviewed for this story, including several of the alleged victims, any firewall that Rosenberg might have tried to build has not been successful. Those people have had conversations with Hefner in which he demonstrates a deep knowledge of the day-to-day workings of the Senate, one that goes well beyond what one might know about a spouse’s work. They say Hefner has followed up on their conversations with Rosenberg, and claimed to speak for the Senate president. They have seen him deal directly with legislative staffers on Senate matters. Their impressions are bolstered by Hefner’s own frequent claims that he is intimately involved in Rosenberg’s work.

Additionally, the Globe has reviewed messages written by Hefner that show his active involvement in the business of the Senate. They include direct communication with legislators and aides about Senate business, and exchanges in which Hefner orders around Rosenberg staffers.

.   .   .

So the man kept his story to himself until a few weeks ago, after a cascading series of revelations of sexual assault and harassment by powerful men, and after the Globe published a column on Oct. 27 about sexual harassment in state politics.

In the aftermath of that column, Rosenberg trumpeted the seriousness of the Senate’s approach to the issue, touting improvements he had made to harassment policies since assuming the presidency.

“We have a zero tolerance policy in the Senate,” he said, speaking to reporters Oct. 30. “We prevent, by first creating a culture in which people understand that if there is a problem, they should come forward. . . . Our policy is working quite well, but we try to be vigilant.”

That angered the advocate.

“When Rosenberg said that there is a zero tolerance policy in the Senate, I was stunned,” he said. “There is a predator in Rosenberg’s inner circle. He participates in official functions and he uses his influence with the Senate president as a part of his tool-belt of harassment techniques.”

Even then, however, he did not initiate contact with the Globe. He described the alleged assaults only after a Globe columnist called him to speak about sexual harassment on Beacon Hill more generally.

.   .   .

Another victim called the Globe back in August — before the start of the national discussion of sexual harassment triggered by revelations of predatory behavior by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein — to say that Hefner had sexually assaulted him several times in 2015 and 2016.

This man was in his early 20s and just starting out as an aide on Beacon Hill when he met Hefner and Rosenberg at a social event. He admired Rosenberg’s progressive agenda and leadership style, and was hoping to learn from Hefner, who brought him into the Senate president’s orbit, and seemed to know all of the workings — and the gossip — of Beacon Hill.

In the summer of 2015, the aide met Hefner for drinks at a bar near Government Center, and they agreed to meet a mutual friend elsewhere for margaritas. He was surprised then when Hefner led him not to another bar, but to the apartment Hefner shares with Rosenberg, just behind the State House. Rosenberg was not in Boston that evening.

I keep arguing for a return to prohibition, but with the full-page liquor ads in the Globe.... sigh.

The aide said he and Hefner were drinking cocktails on a couch when Hefner put his hand on the aide’s leg. The aide pushed it off, but Hefner persisted, leaning over and unzipping the man’s pants.


.   .   .

A fourth man, a lobbyist, said Hefner assaulted him in the summer of 2016.

“I have always supported Rosenberg,” the lobbyist said. “And he supports the causes I care about.”

He worried too, that complaining about it would be seen as homophobic.

“I’ve been a staunch advocate and ally of the LGBT community,” he said. “Does it make me a bad ally to be upset about this? It’s a weird position to be in.”

Yes, the concept of gay predators is so outside the pre$$ box.

The revelations of the last two months, and the growing readiness of victims elsewhere to tell their stories of assault and harassment, appear to have changed little for victims on Beacon Hill. Even as legislative leaders — including Rosenberg, as recently as Tuesday — have invited them to come forward, they choose to stay hidden.

Like the women who have previously told their own stories of harassment on Beacon Hill, these men say they simply do not trust that the culture in Massachusetts politics will ever change enough to truly protect them from the potentially career-ending consequences of identifying themselves.

That same culture, they say, has protected Hefner for years.

“For too long, these stories have been out there, and it’s like hitting a brick wall,” said one of his alleged victims. “He has used his husband’s position to coerce people and protect himself. This kid thinks he is invincible.”

Not anymore.


"Baker, Healey call for investigation into sexual misconduct allegations" by Michael Levenson and Frank Phillips Globe Staff  December 01, 2017

At the State House, where controversy often sends lawmakers scurrying, multiple senators avoided answering questions about the allegations, either by not returning calls or dodging reporters in the hallway.

Majority Leader Harriette Chandler, who is leading an ad-hoc group of six female senators exploring ways to combat sexual misconduct in the Senate, ignored reporters’ entreaties to stop and answer questions as she walked briskly by them in a Senate corridor.

She was accompanied by Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg’s communications director, and the two darted into Rosenberg’s office and closed the door.

Several hours later, Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, the Senate Republican leader, issued a statement saying he and Chandler, a Worcester Democrat, would work together “to develop a structure and process to investigate all of the relevant facts and information related to these serious allegations and take appropriate action.”

“These claims are very serious and disturbing, as are all allegations of sexual abuse, and they deserve to be carefully examined and addressed,” Tarr’s statement said. “Without a doubt, there must be a full and fair process by which the facts should be evaluated, and any wrongdoing in this case should be dealt with swiftly and properly addressed.”

Senator William N. Brownsberger, a Belmont Democrat, was one of the only other senators to speak out about the alleged misconduct.

“The allegations are very detailed and very troubling,” he said in a telephone interview.

Asked if he had confidence in Rosenberg, Brownsberger said, “I think Stan has been a great Senate president and this is very unfortunate and how it relates to the Senate is something we all need to process.”

Asked if Rosenberg should resign, he said, “I’m certainly not at that point myself.”

Brownsberger said he has seen Rosenberg’s husband, Bryon Hefner, only a few times at events and hasn’t considered him a factor at all in the workings of the Senate.

“I thought the firewall was pretty well in place,” he said, referencing Rosenberg’s pledge to prevent Hefner from interfering in Senate business.

Toni Troop, a spokeswoman for Jane Doe Inc., a statewide advocacy group that combats sexual assault, said Hefner’s actions, if proved, would be crimes and therefore must scrutinized by the proper authorities.

“These allegations are deeply troubling and they do need to be investigated,” she said.

She said Hefner’s alleged misconduct fits a pattern often seen in sexual assault and harassment cases, where the perpetrator uses power, whether real or perceived because of a personal connection, to exert power over somebody else. “And it can’t be tolerated,” Troop said.....

And yet there they are, tolerating it.


I think I'm starting to see why they want to keep all the public records secret.

But they did give the pot panel more money, phew!

Also see:

"The list of projects Massachusetts leaders would spend money on if they had it is endless, and yet available resources are finite, as officials have noted during recent rounds of budget tightening efforts. But what if there were $18.3 million in untapped revenues waiting to be accessed? It’s not a fortune, but, “It’s a way to demonstrate to the Commonwealth and the leaders of the Commonwealth that we’re good corporate citizens,” said Will Burns, Airbnb’s public policy director for Massachusetts....."

You want to get a room?

"Rosenberg ‘devastated’ over allegations against husband" by Michael Levenson and Yvonne Abraham Globe Staff  December 01, 2017

Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, fighting to maintain his grip on power, said Friday that he was shocked and heartbroken by allegations that his husband sexually assaulted and harassed four men but was confident an investigation would show his spouse did not interfere with the Senate’s official business.

Rosenberg said he will cooperate fully with an investigation launched by his Senate colleagues while his husband, Bryon Hefner, 30, enters an in-patient treatment center for alcohol dependence.

When all else fails, blame the booze and access that avenue of escape. 

They may not let him out, you know.

Appearing near tears and his voice breaking as he read from a prepared statement, Rosenberg reiterated that the Senate maintains a “zero-tolerance policy” for sexual harassment.  Rosenberg said in a brief appearance outside his office, during which he took no questions from a large array of media, “This has been the most difficult time in my political life, and in my personal life.”

Rosenberg’s statement infuriated two of Hefner’s alleged victims. Two of them also said they did not believe the Senate could conduct an impartial investigation while Rosenberg remains in charge.

“I’m livid, and I’m shaking,” said one man, an aide who has alleged that Hefner sexually assaulted him three times in 2015 and 2016, immediately after Rosenberg’s press conference. “I just have so many frustrations. Rehab is a show. His response uses alcoholism as a shield against sexual assault in order to deflect this political problem he has.”

A second alleged victim was also incensed.

“I am very, very upset that this kid gets to basically walk away from this because he has an alcohol problem, and he gets to go to rehab,” said a man who works on Beacon Hill, who said Hefner groped him at a fund-raiser in 2015. “Because he has an alcohol problem, he gets to violate me. This is disregarding everything the victims have gone through. I don’t think he is taking any of these allegations seriously and Rosenberg has not taken any responsibility.”

A third alleged victim had a more positive response.

As Rosenberg was speaking, his handpicked majority leader, Senator Harriette L. Chandler, was working with the Senate Republican leader, Senator Bruce E. Tarr, to draft the parameters for an investigation into the men’s allegations. The full Senate plans to authorize the investigation during a hastily scheduled formal session on Monday.

It is unclear how long the investigation would take. Once the findings are complete, they will be delivered to the Senate Ethics Committee, which has the power to recommend a range of actions, including censure, expulsion, or no action at all. But the six-member committee, which is controlled by four of Rosenberg’s fellow Democrats, does not have to make the findings public and can keep them secret or release them only partially.

Regardless of the outcome, the allegations would seem to leave Rosenberg, 68, one of the three most powerful politicians on Beacon Hill, politically damaged. A 31-year veteran of the Legislature from Amherst, Rosenberg has been known for a genial, low-key style and attention to progressive policy priorities. He is the first openly gay lawmaker to serve as Senate president.

In a sign of his political vulnerability, one of his Democratic colleagues, Senator Barbara L’Italien of Andover, issued a statement saying Rosenberg should step down as Senate president for the duration of the investigation.....


They can’t ignore this anymore.

"A Democratic stalwart is now the elephant in the room" by Kevin Cullen Globe Staff  December 01, 2017

If an alleged serial sexual predator was going around Beacon Hill saying he had the imprimatur of the Senate president to do whatever he wanted, whether to push his political priorities or push himself on other men, then this scandal is even worse than the harrowing narrative meticulously pieced together by my colleague, Yvonne Abraham.

Let’s get all the stipulations out of the way. These are only allegations, made by men who so far are too afraid of retribution to be identified publicly. The rights of due process need to be followed, and Bryon Hefner, Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s husband, and, by extension, Rosenberg have not been found guilty of anything.

But let’s not kid ourselves: This is shocking, and public confidence in the Massachusetts Senate, and its leader, is understandably shaken.

The initial reactions of both Hefner and Rosenberg did not inspire confidence.

“To my knowledge, no one has complained to me or any political or governmental authority about these allegations by unnamed and unidentified individuals,” Hefner said, displaying all the tone deafness of a statue.

“To the best of my recollection I was not approached by anyone with complaints during or after the alleged incidents or I would have tried to intervene,” said Rosenberg, unwittingly summarizing the problem.

This from the same politician who announced this week, almost Nero-like, that for all the talk about a conflagration of sexual assault and abuse on Beacon Hill, his Senate had found only smoke.

As Abraham’s reporting showed, the reason allegations against Hefner have remained out of view, smoldering like a lit cigarette buried in the sofa cushions, is because his alleged victims were afraid of the political power and political culture stacked against them if they were to come forward.

Abraham found the same fear and reticence when she talked to women who have been sexually abused and harassed on Beacon Hill by powerful men.

Victims of powerful people are understandably afraid to come forward.

Yes, powerful people often evade accountability.

And while the allegations against the 30-year-old Hefner are vindication for those who were always creeped out by the fact that the 68-year-old Senate president was dating, then married, a man less than half his age, this isn’t about sexuality or age difference: It’s about the abuse of power.

I wasn't going to bring it up but I feel the same way, and what if the situation is even worse than imagined, a Barney Frank type situation? You remember, the gay prostitution ring being run out of his D.C. apartment by his driver and live-in roommate?

It’s also about judgment, and the judgment question is directed most pointedly at Stan Rosenberg.

So now what?

In 1995, after Whitey Bulger, the gangster brother of then-Senate president William Bulger, skipped town before he could be arrested, the FBI, which had used him as an informant and protected him for years, assigned the search for him to the same squad that had been corrupted by him. It was ludicrous and Kafkaesque.

So was his trial.

As was the idea that the Senate could investigate this. But to their credit, Senate leaders quickly realized how much of a conflict of interest it was to have the investigation run by people who are friendly with, and in political debt to, Rosenberg.

But even now that the Senate will take the unprecedented step in hiring an independent investigator to look into the whole mess, the question remains: What about Stan?

Given his impeccable Democratic credentials, it would be a badly mixed metaphor to call him the elephant in the room. But how can he continue to preside over the Senate? How forthcoming are potential witnesses and victims going to be if they have to worry about offending the sitting Senate president, knowing that, however the investigation plays out, they or causes they care about could suffer political payback?

Speaking at the State House Friday afternoon, Rosenberg gave no indication he will step down. He offered some platitudes about zero tolerance toward the kind of behavior his husband is accused of, insisted his husband had no influence over policy, and said that if his husband told others that he did, he shouldn’t have.

Rosenberg paused, visibly overcome with emotion, after saying Hefner was seeking help for abusing alcohol and that he would enter a treatment facility.

This is, obviously, a personal tragedy for the Senate president. But for all the sympathy and empathy one might feel for him, his remarks Friday, and his refusal to take questions from reporters, don’t address the not-so-small matter of that elephant in the State House. 

They are so self-absorbed they can't get over that.

Hefner’s alleged victims told Abraham they are wary of cooperating with an investigation that has any Senate fingerprints, much less Rosenberg’s, on it.

At the end of the day, the feelings and sensitivities of the alleged victims must take priority. They and other witnesses have a right to expect an impartial and scrupulous investigation, and that is simply not possible as long as Stan Rosenberg is president of the Massachusetts Senate.

Several of Hefner’s alleged victims said they were reluctant to share their experiences because they like and respect Rosenberg — because he has championed the same progressive causes they do.

If Stan Rosenberg respects them as much as they respect him, I don’t see how he can do his job professionally or personally because there is no way any investigation into what his husband allegedly did by dropping his name and the name of Senate business can be seen as thorough and fair if he is still running that Senate.

One of the most shocking parts of the accusations against Hefner is that some of his alleged groping took place when Rosenberg was nearby. One alleged incident occurred while Rosenberg was in the front seat of a car and Hefner and his alleged victim were in the back, driving to a political event.

In her stunning piece of reportage, Yvonne Abraham said there is no evidence that Rosenberg was aware that Hefner was groping or assaulting other men.

Maybe he didn’t see anything. Or maybe love is blind.

Either scenario is hardly reassuring.....



Rosenberg and his Senate can’t decide what’s right and wrong

State senators to meet Monday on harassment investigation of Rosenberg’s spouse

State Senate opens ethics inquiry into Stan Rosenberg

The Globe says Rosenberg must leave, the upside is:

"Rosenberg to step aside during investigation" by Joshua Miller Globe Staff  December 04, 2017

The Massachusetts Senate, in the grip of its worst leadership crisis in memory, on Monday temporarily replaced its embattled president, Stanley C. Rosenberg, and set in motion a Senate investigation stemming from allegations that his husband sexually assaulted or harassed four men.

At the same time, Attorney General Maura T. Healey and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley urged alleged victims of Rosenberg’s husband, Bryon Hefner, to come forward so they can launch a separate, criminal investigation into Hefner’s conduct.

“Sexual assault is a crime and we want to send a clear message that harassment and assault of any kind will not be tolerated,” Healey and Conley said in a joint statement.

On Beacon Hill, senators huddled behind closed doors in a marathon eight-hour meeting before publicly electing majority leader Harriette L. Chandler to serve as president until the Senate investigation concludes. Chandler, who turns 80 later this month and is a close ally of Rosenberg, pledged to relinquish the position upon the completion of the Senate’s investigation.

She has a PhD and MBA and has won 24 straight elections.

The chamber’s inquiry, to see if Rosenberg violated Senate rules, will be conducted by the Democrat-controlled Ethics Committee, which is poised to hire outside investigators. Senators said there was no predetermined time frame for its completion. The committee can recommend sanctions ranging from censure to expulsion or no action at all.

“The past four days have been so turbulent, so tragic, so surprising, and so sad,” Chandler, a Worcester Democrat, said in a brief speech to her colleagues, after they gave her a standing ovation on the Senate floor. “I wish I could look at this wonderful election you have given me with joy, rather than the way I feel. It truly isn’t a time of celebration for me.”

Chandler’s ascension quieted the machinations of other senators who had been angling to succeed Rosenberg on a permanent basis, but State House insiders, including Rosenberg allies, said it was unclear if the Amherst Democrat will be able to return to his leadership post. He is politically weakened and faces a cadre of ambitious candidates hoping to take the gavel. Rosenberg will remain a rank-and-file senator.

Et tu, Brute?

Chandler said it’s not yet clear if she will accept the higher pay, additional staff, and larger office that come with being Senate president. Senators Linda Dorcena Forry of Dorchester, Sal N. DiDomenico of Everett, and Karen E. Spilka of Ashland were said to be among those considering the powerful leadership post, should it open up.....

Oh, the Globe named names!


"Rosenberg faces daunting path back to power, Dems say" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  December 06, 2017

Once you step down, can you step back up?

Supporters of Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg are certainly hoping the liberal Amherst Democrat can regain his post as Senate president. They point out that Rosenberg is well-liked, has built a collegial atmosphere in the Senate, and has not been accused of any wrongdoing amid the allegations that his husband, Bryon Hefner, sexually assaulted and harassed four men and bragged that he had influence over Senate business.

But political observers inside and outside the State House say Rosenberg, 68, faces a daunting path back to power in the current political climate, which has seen prominent figures in government, media, business, and entertainment banished for allegations of sexual misconduct.

“I just think it’s too toxic a political environment, both in Massachusetts and throughout the country, for a politician with this type of baggage to be able to stay in the office of Senate president,” said Tobe Berkovitz, a former Democratic media consultant and professor of advertising at Boston University.

He didn't do anything wrong.

Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic political consultant, said she was also skeptical Rosenberg can reclaim the presidency.

So who wanted him out? 

That's why politicians are removed in Ma$$achu$etts. 

Sal stood in the way of casinos, and you saw what happened to him.

She said the allegations against Hefner suggest Rosenberg broke his promise to enforce a “zero-tolerance policy” for sexual harassment in the Senate and to maintain a “firewall” between Hefner and Senate business. Rosenberg made that vow in 2014 after Hefner was accused of mocking senators on Twitter and meddling in the Senate’s internal workings.

Sometimes firewalls fail; just ask Hillary Clinton.

“This is about his job and the commitments he made as Senate president,” Marsh said. “Stan has to convince his colleagues that he can do the job that’s he’s either been unwilling or unable to do to date.”

Rosenberg on Monday stepped down as Senate president, ceding power to his majority leader, Worcester Democrat Harriette L. Chandler, who said she would lead the chamber until the Senate finishes an ethics investigation into whether Rosenberg violated Senate rules. Senators have not set any predetermined timeframe for the investigation.

The inquiry was prompted by a Boston Globe report published last week that detailed allegations by three men who say Hefner grabbed their genitals and one who said Hefner kissed him against his will. Although several of the alleged incidents took place mere feet away from Rosenberg, the Globe found no evidence that the Senate president knew about the assaults.

In addition to the ethics probe, Rosenberg now faces a wider group of colleagues worried that additional allegations against Hefner could emerge and at least three senators who have been quietly lining up support, should the Senate president’s position become vacant.

“It’s like sharks smelling blood,” said John C. Berg, a professor emeritus of government at Suffolk University. “He’s politically weakened.”

But Rosenberg still maintains a strong base of support among progressive activists and senators who admire his track record of pushing liberal policy priorities.

Widely regarded as the most liberal of Beacon Hill’s Big Three — Democratic House speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Republican Governor Charlie Baker are the other two — Rosenberg has been credited with helping to push legislation to protect transgender rights, equal pay for women, and paid family leave.

He has also been praised by his colleagues for his “shared leadership” model of governance, which empowers senators to make policy and loosens the Senate president’s grip on power. “Organizationally, he has been a phenomenal leader of the Senate,” said Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, a Jamaica Plain Democrat. Senators, she said, don’t want to “lose that in the leader of the institution.”

What does it matter if a woman takes his place?

The election of Chandler as temporary Senate president was seen as a possible lifeline for Rosenberg because, at 79, she has said she has no desire to serve in the role permanently. If the Senate had elevated one of the younger, more ambitious candidates who had been vying for the role, he or she might not have been willing to relinquish the gavel without a fight.

“The fact that it’s Harley Chandler stating unequivocally that she’s only serving temporarily, I think, holds out hope for Stan to make a return,” said former Senate president Thomas F. Birmingham. “That’s the best thing Stan could have hoped for.”

He "hopes his name will be cleared." 

Shouldn't he be expecting it to be?


"Three announce bids for Senate presidency — with a big ‘if’" by Joshua Miller Globe Staff  December 06, 2017

Three senators openly declared their interest in serving as Senate president Wednesday, amplifying the tumult and high political drama in the chamber, which already has an acting Senate president, as well as a former senate president lingering in the wings.

After days of behind-the-scenes machinations, Democrats Linda Dorcena Forry of Dorchester, Eileen M. Donoghue of Lowell, and Karen E. Spilka of Ashland trumpeted that they want the Senate’s top job, should it open. Their declarations represented an unusual breach of informal protocol on Beacon Hill, where leadership fights usually play out behind closed doors over several months or years, but the standard operating procedure has been scrambled since last week, when the Globe reported accusations from four men who alleged that then-Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg’s husband, Bryon Hefner, sexually assaulted or harassed them and who said Hefner bragged he had influence on Senate business.

The allegations led Rosenberg to temporarily step down from his position on Monday while his colleagues launched an ethics investigation into whether he broke chamber rules. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and the people who hope to succeed him and their allies are burning up their cell minutes to sweet talk colleagues and angle for votes. And what candidate senators choose — and whether they win or lose — can shape career trajectories. Democrats have a super-majority in the 40-seat Senate. The president, who is elected in a formal session by the full chamber, has vast power over policy and who serves in top positions.

All the internal politicking is happening as senators struggle with sadness and anger about the allegations of assault, and worry about the victims.

“A leadership change is always messy, always tense, and always tries friendships; it would do that in the best of circumstances with months of run-up,” said former senator Benjamin B. Downing. “But to have to grapple with it at a time when an individual is alleged to have committed these heinous acts, you have a place that is really frayed.”


It's about to get even worse:

"Rosenberg’s husband draws FBI scrutiny" by Yvonne Abraham Globe Staff  December 14, 2017

The FBI has begun looking into allegations that Bryon Hefner, the husband of state Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg, assaulted several men with State House connections while boasting of his influence on Beacon Hill, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The agents are interested in whether Hefner offered a quid pro quo to his alleged victims, using his relationship with Rosenberg — then the Senate president — to influence the chamber’s business in return for sexual favors.

The fact that the FBI is making inquiries does not mean a formal investigation is underway, or that charges will ultimately be brought. And it is unclear whether Hefner or Rosenberg, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, is the main target of the inquiry.

A spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s office in Boston said she could neither confirm nor deny an inquiry was underway.

The federal agents’ questions come in response to a Globe story in which four men alleged Hefner assaulted them in the past few years. A lawyer representing Hefner, who entered an in-patient treatment facility for alcohol dependence soon after the allegations were made public, said agents have not contacted him.

He won't be at the party then?

“I am unaware of any federal investigation and do not see any federal interest at play,” said attorney Tracy Miner. “No agent of the federal government has sought to contact me or my client to my knowledge.”

A spokeswoman for Rosenberg said his office does not comment on Hefner, and directed a reporter to Rosenberg’s earlier statements in which he denied that Hefner had any control over the business of the state Senate.

The FBI’s questions come as a Senate inquiry is underway into Rosenberg’s conduct and “whether he violated the rules of the Senate,” according to the formal order authorizing it. The Senate Committee on Ethics is poised to announce the hiring of an independent investigator, who will conduct the inquiry. That investigator would report back to the committee.

Several of the men Hefner allegedly assaulted and others said the then-Senate president’s husband boasted of his pull on Beacon Hill.

Pun intended?

Thursday’s news is only the latest of recent developments that have roiled their chamber since the allegations against Hefner emerged three weeks ago.

Former state senator Brian A. Joyce was indicted last week on federal charges including mail fraud, corruption, money laundering, and embezzlement.

Prosecutors allege the Milton Democrat collected about $1 million in bribes and kickbacks that he laundered through his law firm.


Former state senator Brian Joyce indicted on federal charges

Did Brian Joyce get a sweetheart deal?

Did the Globe have it in for him?

Prosecutors investigate fees collected by Brian Joyce on Randolph projects

Government leaked it; couldn't be anyone else.

What is worse is what he did to the children.

Stealing a hot stove and coming back for the smoke

Somebody is jumping for joy about getting back their dry cleaning.

The news of the FBI’s questions on Hefner, coming so soon after Joyce’s indictment, left senators cringing.

“Not a pleasant situation, that’s for sure,” said one Democratic senator. “Obviously, it’s something that is” — the senator paused to find the right words — “creating discomfort.”

Another Democratic senator said the Senate had “taken a hit,” and that some in the body “are conceding that, given what has happened over the last two weeks, this is not an environment where [Rosenberg] could ever come back as Senate president.”

And so it ends

Who wanted him gone?


How is he doing back home?

"Sympathy and support for Stanley Rosenberg in his hometown of Amherst" by Brian MacQuarrie and Aimee Ortiz Globe Staff  December 05, 2017

AMHERST — In the center of this college town, most people said they were sympathetic toward Stanley C. Rosenberg, saying he had represented the district well on Beacon Hill. Paul Klemer, 58, said he did not believe that Rosenberg should step down, and questioned whether the allegations will ruin his political career.

“It’s not really his fault,” said Klemer, who said that Rosenberg had been an advocate for gay and lesbian rights and should be allowed to continue his work, but Douglas Slaughter, chairman of the Amherst Board of Selectmen, praised Rosenberg’s decision to step aside during the Senate investigation, saying it was in keeping with Rosenberg’s record as a “tremendous public servant.”

“We don’t know the facts, so we can’t comment on the particulars, but nonetheless, his stepping aside is a clear indication of his commitment to the people of Amherst, and the Senate as a whole,” he said.

Of a dozen people interviewed, only one demanded that Rosenberg resign from elected office, no matter what the investigation uncovers.

“I think he should divest himself from the whole thing,” said Jim Reed, who runs a barbershop just off the town square.

No matter how the investigation affects Rosenberg’s career, Amherst residents said the allegations against Hefner are the latest example of a cultural reckoning on sexual assault.....

Leading where?

IMHO, it will be used to control sexual behavior on a scale of which the Nazis never even dreamed, and it will eventually lead to perverted sexual consent laws that will legalize pedophilia.


While not approving of his lifestyle (more the age difference than anything else), I do feel sorry for Stan in that he worked all his life to reach his dream job and had it taken away so quickly. If the reporting is true and there are not more nefarious things going on, then his tale is pathetic.