The Massachusetts State Senate plans to hire a special investigator to look into sexual assault allegations against the husband of Senate President Stan Rosenberg.
Democratic State Senator James Welch of West Springfield said he supports the unprecedented step to bring in an independent investigator.
He called the allegations “disturbing.” Welch said he still supports Rosenberg, an Amherst Democrat, to continue leading the Senate.
"I think Stan is an admirable guy and I think he will do the right thing in this situation," said Welch.
The Boston Globe reported anonymous allegations by four men who accused Bryon Hefner, Rosenberg’s spouse, of sexual misconduct.
The paper said there is no evidence Rosenberg knew about it.
Rosenberg said he will recuse himself from the Senate's investigation.
Here is Rosenberg's full statement from Friday afternoon:
“I was shocked and devastated to learn of the allegations reported in the Boston Globe. Any time there are allegations of sexual harassment and assault, we should all be shocked and devastated. Our hearts must go out to anyone who has been hurt, and I encourage anyone, anywhere, any time to come forward. We in the Senate maintain a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment and will always encourage people to come forward to any authority they feel comfortable with without any fear of retaliation.
My heart goes out to anyone who may have been hurt, and I am committed to helping anyone who has been harmed. This has been the most difficult time in my political life, and in my personal life.
As Senate President, my concern is for the Senators, the staff, and all those who have business before the Senate. I have repeatedly made clear that Bryon was to have no influence on what happens in the Senate. He has no influence over policy, the internal operations of the Senate, or any Senate related business.
If Bryon claimed to have influence over my decisions or over the Senate, he should not have said that. It is simply not true. I am looking forward to fully cooperating with the investigation and look forward to the findings. I am confident that the investigation will find that Bryon had no influence on the workings of the Senate.
Bryon is seeking professional help for alcohol dependence, which will include his being admitted to an in-patient treatment center shortly.
The last 24 hours have been heartbreaking and difficult. I have spent most of those hours processing those allegations, and I will continue to do this as he prepares to enter treatment.
Due to an imminent investigation, I have been advised not to answer questions at this time.”