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The identities of those who cooperated with a state Senate investigation into assault allegations against Bryon Hefner, husband of former Senate President Stan Rosenberg, will remain anonymous, a Massachusetts judge ruled Monday.
Superior Court Judge William Sullivan said in his decision that the witnesses did not come forward willingly in the Senate investigation and spoke to Senate-hired investigators only "after repeated assurances" their names would remain confidential, The Boston Globe reported.
Sullivan said in a hearing last month that there might be "wiggle room" for the Senate to share its documents.
But Monday's decision was more definitive.
"The alleged victims in this case were told that their identities would be protected as much as possible," Sullivan wrote. "The court respects that representation."
One witness in the Senate investigation against Hefner reported inappropriate emails while another described unwanted touching.
Attorney General Maura Healey's office sought the court records, saying they could lead to more potential victims as it prosecutes Hefner.
Healey's office wanted the identities because they were not among the accusers they've identified in their own criminal case against Hefner.
A spokeswoman for Healey said the office had no comment on the decision but continues to investigate Hefner.
Hefner, 31, faces criminal charges of sexual assault, distributing nude photos without consent and criminal lewdness. He has pleaded not guilty.
Hefner's attorney, Tracy Miner, called Sullivan's order "well-reasoned."
It "protects both the alleged victims and the defendant's rights," she said in an email.
Rosenberg, an Amherst Democrat, served 31 years as a lawmaker but stepped down in May after a scathing ethics report concluded he failed to protect the Senate from his husband.
He hasn't been criminally charged, but he and Hefner face a lawsuit.
This article was originally published on August 14, 2018.
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