Former Statehouse aide drops lawsuit against Rosenberg, Hefner

Staff Writer
Friday, October 19, 2018

BOSTON — A former Statehouse aide has dropped his lawsuit against the former president of the Massachusetts Senate and his husband.

Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for the man known in court papers as John Doe, said Thursday that he formally notified Suffolk Superior Court that his client was voluntarily withdrawing the suit against former Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Bryon Hefner.

The aide alleged he had been sexually assaulted by Hefner and that Rosenberg “knew or was aware” his husband posed a risk to Senate staffers.

Rosenberg declined comment Thursday, deferring to a statement released by his attorney.

“For the reasons stated in former Senator Rosenberg’s motion to dismiss, the plaintiff’s claims against him were totally meritless. We are pleased the plaintiff has decided on his own to drop his case,” said attorney Michael Pineault, on behalf of Rosenberg.

Rosenberg, an Amherst Democrat, stepped down as Senate president and later resigned from the Senate after the allegations against Hefner surfaced.

The Senate Ethics Committee report released prior to Rosenberg’s resignation from the Senate said that Rosenberg had failed to protect the Senate from his husband’s behavior, although it did not say that Rosenberg was aware of his husband’s actions.

John Doe is one of the alleged victims in a pending criminal case against Hefner, who has pleaded not guilty. The charges against Hefner in that case include felony sexual assault.

Attempts to reach Garabedian were unsuccessful Thursday.

Rosenberg was the longtime representative for much of the Pioneer Valley, and developed a reputation as both a champion of progressive causes and as a senator who delivered on constituent services.

His sudden resignation from the Senate May 4, after the filing deadline to get on the ballot for September’s Democratic primary, meant that only one person, Northampton educator Chelsea Kline, was on the ballot in this year’s primary election for the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District.

However, the race soon drew several write-in challengers, with the eventual four-way-contest being won by Jo Comerford of Northampton, a former campaign director at MoveOn.org.

Comerford is facing no opponent in the Nov. 6 general election, and is set to be the first woman to represent the district in its history.