• Husband of former Senate president pleads not guilty to sex assault charges


    BOSTON - The estranged husband of the former Massachusetts Senate president made his first court appearance on felony sexual assault charges Tuesday. 

    Bryon Hefner was arraigned in Suffolk Superior court on five counts of indecent assault and battery, one count of criminal lewdness and four counts of distributing nude photos without consent.

    Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey and Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley jointly announced the grand jury indictment in March.

    Prosecutors say Hefner sexually assaulted three victims on five total occasions in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

    MORE: Estranged husband of former Senate president indicted for sexual assault

    The alleged victims in this case include numerous men with ties to the State House and Hefner is accused of touting his influence on senate business.

    In court, prosecutors laid out a detailed timeline of the alleged misconduct, saying between June 2014 and August 2016, Hefner touched the genitals of two men without their consent and aggressively kissed another man at a party.

    Prosecutors say in 2013, Hefner also took photos of a fourth man inside a hotel suite at a conference while the man was nude and sleeping after consuming a large amount of alcohol - and then shared them with other people. 

    In a statement, Hefner's attorney said, "Mr. Hefner Rosenberg looks forward to defending himself in a court of law where accusers cannot remain anonymous and must face cross-examination. Unfortunately, he has already been pilloried in the press for political purposes, having never had a trial."

    Hefner is now reportedly separated from his husband, Senator Stanley Rosenberg.

    Rosenberg left his position as Senate president after the scandal broke late last year and remains the subject of a senate investigation into whether he knew anything about Hefner’s alleged behavior.

    Hefner pleaded not guilty to all charges Tuesday morning. He was released on personal recognizance and ordered to stay away from anyone involved in the case.

    He was also banned from State House grounds. 

    A trial date has been set for next March.

    MORE: Former Senate Pres. Stanley Rosenberg running for re-election

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