When senators huddle for a private caucus Monday to consider sexual assault complaints lodged against Senate President Stanley Rosenberg's civil-law husband, state Senator Barbara L'Italien plans to discuss her belief that Rosenberg needs to give up his duties as Senate president while an investigation runs its course.
Following the almost eight-hour Democratic caucus, the Senate voted to elect Democratic Majority Leader Harriette Chandler as acting Senate president.
Rosenberg, D-Amherst, has stepped down from the presidency during an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. The investigator will also look into the possibility that Hefner had some influence over Senate matters.
La Raja told the News Service he asked students to refrain from asking questions about the Senate investigation and allegations against Hefner, saying it was a matter of due process and didn't have much to do with the class. Rosenberg had agreed to speak with the class three weeks ago about governance and representation, La Raja said. After the visit, Rosenberg said he hopes his name will be cleared by an upcoming Senate investigation.
WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke this morning with the new Senate leader. One alleged victim - a policy advocate who said Hefner assaulted him in the fall of 2015 - said he understood that Hefner was offering to help smooth his path in the Senate in return for sex. She has said she will step down at that point.
Rosenberg, who has not been accused of wrongdoing, expressed shock over the allegations reported last week by The Boston Globe.
Rosenberg said last week, "If Bryon claimed to have influence over my decisions or over the Senate, he should not have said that".
Attorney General Maura Healey and Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley, both Democrats, said Monday they were prepared to launch an investigation and said anyone with information should feel free to contact either of their offices. The men, who were not named by the Globe, said they did not report the abuse partly because they did not want to alienate the powerful Senate leader.
WCVB reached out to Rosenberg's office Sunday, but have not heard back.
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, through a spokeswoman, called Rosenberg's decision to step down "the right one". Rosenberg said Friday that Hefner would soon enter treatment for alcohol dependency.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren found the charges "disgusting".