What to Know
- Bryon Hefner pleaded not guilty at his arraignment to 10 charges, including sexual assault and distributing nude photos without consent.
- Hefner is the estranged husband of former Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg.
- Hefner was indicted by a grand jury in March. Accusations of misconduct led Rosenberg to step down as Senate leader in December.
The estranged husband of former Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg made his first court appearance on Tuesday morning, and prosecutors revealed new details about the alleged sexual assaults.
Bryon Hefner, 30, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court to 10 charges, including sexual assault, distributing nude photos without consent and criminal lewdness.
He was released on personal recognizance and was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victims or witnesses and to stay away from the State House. He is expected to face trial in March of 2019.
His lawyer, Tracy Miner, distributed a brief statement saying Hefner was looking forward to defending himself in court, "where accusers cannot remain anonymous and must face cross-examination."
"Unfortunately, (Hefner) has already been pilloried in the press for political purposes, having never had a trial," wrote Miner, who referred to her client in the statement as "Mr. Hefner Rosenberg."
Prosecutors allege that Hefner sexually assaulted one victim on three separate occasions in the Boston area, including once in June 2015 in a residential building and twice in April 2016 — in a car heading from one political event and going to another and at the political event itself.
This victim told Hefner to "screw off" after the incident in the car, court documents show. When they arrived at the other Boston event and were seated next to each other, Hefner then allegedly grabbed the victim's genitals through his clothes under the table without the man's consent.
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Hefner allegedly assaulted one of his victims in December 2013, after he and his victim attended a conference that lasted for several days.
The victim recalled heavy drinking and then being in a hotel suite with Hefner. The victim said he woke up the next morning naked and alone in his own hotel room bed, with no memory of how he got there. The victim learned several years later that Hefner had allegedly taken photos of him while he was naked and shown them to at least four other people.
Hefner allegedly sexually assaulted another victim in 2014 and exposed his genitals to that victim in June 2016. The victim, who told investigators Hefner had been a close friend, claimed Hefner repeatedly tried to grope him and that he had to retreat to the bathroom to get away.
Court documents show the same victim took Hefner to his apartment after Hefner was refused entry into a party being hosted by another of Hefner's alleged victims, when Hefner repeatedly tried to get into the victim's bed with him in it. The victim told investigators he was "shocked and alarmed" when Hefner came into his bedroom to expose his genitals and then left, leaving his apartment's front door open.
The indictments also allege that Hefner sexually assaulted a third victim in August 2016. This victim told police that he and his wife were celebrating a friend's birthday on an apartment building's roof deck when Hefner joined the event. Hefner allegedly made unsolicited comments that the victim was "hot," and as the group was leaving the building, Hefner grabbed this victim and "kissed him aggressively on the lips without his consent."
All of the alleged offenses happened in Boston.
"He targeted both young men and older men," assistant attorney general Jennifer Snook said in court Tuesday.
In announcing the indictments last month, Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley said the investigation had "revealed a disturbing pattern of conduct that was not only inappropriate but criminal."
A report in The Boston Globe that several men had accused Hefner of misconduct led Rosenberg, 68, to step down as Senate leader in December.
The Amherst Democrat, still a member of the Senate, separated from his husband in January. Rosenberg and Hefner had been together since 2008 and were married in 2016.
Rosenberg has not been accused of any wrongdoing and has denied any prior knowledge of the allegations against his husband. He has also maintained that Hefner exerted no influence on his actions or decisions as Senate president.
An independent investigation continues to look into whether Rosenberg violated any Senate rules.