The state Senate elected an acting president after former President Stan Rosenberg changed course Monday and agreed to relinquish his leadership responsibilities amid sexual misconduct allegations involving his husband.
After meeting privately for more than eight hours, senators formally elected Harriette Chandler, the Senate majority leader, as Rosenberg's replacement for the span of the investigation.
"I support the investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee to determine if Stan Rosenberg violated any rules of the Senate, and I am encouraged by the intent to hire an outside investigator".
The investigation will look into whether Rosenberg's husband Bryon Hefner had any influence over Senate business.
The Boston Globe's Yvonne Abraham published a column on Thursday with the men's accusations against Hefner.
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"I would like to take a leave of absence as your president, effective immediately, for the duration of the investigation", Rosenberg said in a letter to colleagues.
WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke this morning with the new Senate leader.
Rosenberg says Hefner is seeking professional help. "The independent investigation by the thorough, proper, and prompt, and I am hopeful that, together, with the criminal investigation Attorney General Maura Healey and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley are prepared to open, we will be able to address these allegations and get to the truth of the matter".
Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren weighed in Monday, telling reporters "the charges against the Senate president's husband are disgusting and the people who have leveled these charges have a right to be heard and to be respected and protected".
The two said they are committed to providing every survivor of sexual assault "a safe, respectful, victim-centered environment". The men, who were not named by the Globe, said they did not report the abuse partly because they did not want to alienate the powerful Senate leader.
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The Senate is expected to appoint an independent investigator whose focus likely would be on whether Rosenberg knew about Hefner's alleged behavior, or if Hefner had any clout when it came to matters before the Senate.
Rosenberg has not been accused of wrongdoing. He maintained that his husband had no influence over his policy decisions or actions by the Senate.
Rosenberg has promised to recuse himself from any matters related to the investigation but otherwise will continue to preside over the Senate.
Rosenberg gave a short statement outside his office on Friday, saying he would cooperate with any investigation and that his husband would enter a treatment program for alcohol addiction.
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