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Hefner's Lawyer Says He'll Fight Sexual Assault Charges

The estranged husband of former Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg was indicted Thursday on felony charges of sexual assault, distributing nude photos without consent and criminal lewdness.

Bryon Hefner, 30, was indicted by a grand jury on five counts of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over, four counts of dissemination of a visual image of a nude or partially nude person and one count of open and gross lewdness.

Hefner's attorney said he "intends to plead not guilty and looks forward to contesting the evidence and confronting the witnesses against him in a court of law."

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on April 24.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement that the indictments "send a clear message that we will not tolerate behavior of this kind."

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley added that the investigation into Hefner revealed "a disturbing pattern of conduct that was not only inappropriate but criminal."

The indictments 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 vehicle and in a restaurant.

He allegedly sexually assaulted another victim in 2014 and exposed his genitals to that victim in June 2016. The indictments also allege that Hefner sexually assaulted a third victim in August 2016. All of these alleged offenses happened in Boston.

Prosecutors also allege that Hefner obtained nude and partially-nude photos of another victim without that person's knowledge and sent or showed those photos to four other people without the victim's consent.

Rosenberg stepped down as Senate president in December following a Boston Globe report that Hefner had sexually assaulted four unnamed men. Some of them had professional business before the Legislature and said they feared coming forward partly because they did not want to alienate the powerful Senate leader.

"These are serious charges," Rosenberg said in a statement Thursday. "They are now being handled by the judicial system. I have faith in that system and trust that it will adjudicate this case fairly."

Rosenberg, 68, separated from Hefner in January. They had been together since 2008 and were married in 2016. He 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.

Senate President Harriette Chandler also issued a statement Thursday, calling the charges "deeply disturbing" and thanking the victims for their bravery in coming forward.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito issued a statement commending the victims who came forward to report Hefner's "despicable" actions.

Sen. Karen Spilka, who is expected to be the next Senate president, said she and her colleagues are "heartsick" for the victims.

"This is the latest turn in one of the toughest periods in the history of the state Senate," she said. "I know my colleagues join me in believing our primary task is to continue to make the State House a welcoming and safe place, and to move forward with our important work this session."

The investigation into Hefner is ongoing, and anyone with additional information about the case is urged to call 617-963-2638.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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