Accuser says Stanley Rosenberg conspired in estranged husband's alleged sex assault
By Laurel J. Sweet
June 20, 2018
Photo by Jonathan Wiggs
Photo by John Wilcox
Ex-Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg and his estranged husband are being targeted for damages in a civil lawsuit by a former Beacon Hill legislative aide who says Bryon Hefner sexually abused him — twice in Rosenberg’s presence, and once at the couple’s North End condo.
The explosive 16-page lawsuit was filed in Suffolk Superior Court by attorney Mitchell Garabedian on behalf of “John Doe.”
Doe’s true identity was immediately impounded by Judge Debra A. Squires-Lee. He is identified only as a resident of Middlesex County who worked as a legislative aide for the House of Representatives.
“The court finds that irreparable and immediate harm may result absent an ex-parte order of impoundment,” Squires-Lee ruled. The seal could be lifted Monday depending on the outcome of a hearing today on whether it warrants extension.
The allegations against Hefner in the civil suit mirror those of one of four men who’ve criminally accused Hefner of sexual abuse. Garabedian declined to say yesterday if it’s the same person.
“Because of the pending criminal matter, I’ll let the complaint speak for itself, I’ll let the facts be introduced and a just verdict rendered,” Garabedian told the Herald. Garabedian achieved fame as an advocate for victims of priest sex abuse, winning multimillion-dollar cases against the Catholic Church.
Hefner, 31, is currently out of state receiving unspecified treatment after being charged by Attorney General Maura Healey with indecent assault and battery, open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior and dissemination of images of a nude or partially nude person. The indictments stem from encounters Hefner allegedly had with four men, whose identities have not been disclosed by prosecutors.
Hefner’s criminal attorney, Tracy Miner, and Rosenberg could not be reached for comment on the civil lawsuit. That suit was filed Friday.
Rosenberg, 68, retired last month amid the ongoing scandal that already cost him his leadership post. The suit states Rosenberg, a legislator for nearly three decades, became romantically involved with Hefner in 2008, when Hefner was an intern in the state Senate office.
Rosenberg was paid $156,650 last year, according to state payroll records. The couple have two condos, both in Rosenberg’s name. The one in the North End is assessed at $578,800. The other, in Amherst, is assessed at $174,800.
Doe’s complaint accuses Hefner of assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and Rosenberg of conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Doe is alleged to have met Hefner and Rosenberg at a private social function in Boston in June 2015, where Doe spoke with the couple about “political matters in the Massachusetts Legislature and at the Massachusetts State House,” the suit states.
After a subsequent get-together for drinks, Doe alleges Hefner brought him home to the Myrtle Street condo he and Rosenberg shared in the North End and sexually assaulted him as Doe tried to fight him off. It is not alleged that Rosenberg was present there.
However, Doe claims that on April 19, 2016, he, Hefner and Rosenberg shared a car at Rosenberg’s invitation to a political event in Boston. Rosenberg was a passenger in the front seat, the suit states, and while he and Hefner were sitting in the back, Hefner sexually assaulted him again. Doe said when he pushed Hefner away and told him to “screw off,” Rosenberg called out, “Knock it off back there.”
When the men all shared a table at the event, the suit claims Hefner assaulted Doe under the table with Rosenberg there, as well as members of his staff and a second senator.
“Defendant Rosenberg provided excuses for Defendant Hefner’s conduct. Defendant Rosenberg claimed that Defendant Hefner’s mental health issues or problems with alcohol excused Defendant Hefner’s conduct,” Garabedian argues in the suit.
Rosenberg is accused of providing Hefner access “to individuals who worked, communicated with or lobbied at the Massachusetts Legislature or at the Massachusetts State House,” and of placing Doe in harm’s way by not intervening when Hefner was seated next to him — conduct the suit decries as “extreme and outrageous, beyond all possible bounds of decency, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”