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Bryon Hefner Pleads Guilty To Assault03:42
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Bryon Hefner, the estranged husband of former state Senate President Stan Rosenberg, pleaded guilty to assault charges Tuesday.

He will not serve prison time in the plea deal. Hefner pleaded guilty to three of eight counts he was facing. Those counts are indecent assault on an individual over age 14, assault and battery and dissemination of an image of a nude or partially nude person.

Prosecutors dropped the other charges, and recommended Hefner receive three years of probation in addition to a one-year suspended sentence. The victims, the prosecution said, agreed to the recommendation, which the judge accepted.

Hefner was accused of groping two men, forcibly kissing a third and circulating nude photos of a fourth man. The 32-year-old was indicted in March of 2018 on felony charges including sexual assault, and originally pleaded not guilty to the charges in April that year.

Hefner changed his plea Tuesday, just one day before jury selection in the case was due to begin. His attorney in court called the plea deal fair and just.

A victim statement read in court said that because of Hefner and his political connections, the victim had lost faith in the Legislature's ability to protect him, and said he would not go back to work at the State House where he once pictured his entire career.

Hefner stood in court and offered a brief apology to his victims.

The allegations of sexual misconduct against Hefner led to Rosenberg stepping down from his post as an investigation was launched.

Hefner was first accused of inappropriate touching and kissing in late November of 2017 by four men — some with business before the Massachusetts Legislature — whose claims were first detailed in a Boston Globe story.

Rosenberg denied having any knowledge of the allegations against Hefner ahead of that story. The state Senate Ethics Committee investigated and found the Amherst did not violate any specific Senate rules, but failed to "protect the Senate" and its members from Hefner.

Rosenberg separated from Hefner less than two months after the allegations first surfaced.

This segment aired on September 11, 2019.

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Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.

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