On Thursday, Bryon Hefner, the husband of state Sen. Stan Rosenberg, was indicted by a grand jury on five felony charges of sexual assault, one count of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, and four counts of disseminating nude photographs without consent. Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Executive Director Gina Scaramella issued the following statement in response:
“It is unusual for prosecutors to bring forward cases of sexual assault. We applaud Attorney General Maura Healey and Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley for investigating these reports of sexual assault and taking them seriously. We also applaud the Boston Globe for first bringing these reports to the public’s attention. And we thank the survivors who undertook the extremely difficult task of disclosing what happened to them.
“There are no circumstances under which it is easy to publicly disclose that one has been sexually assaulted. The survivors in this case all worked at the Massachusetts State House and had business with former then–Senate President Rosenberg. By publicly describing what happened to them, they risked their careers and also risked derailing the professional standing of the organizations for which they worked.
“As this case proceeds, we hope that the men who have taken the courageous steps to disclose what happened to them are getting the necessary support in their personal and professional lives to restore and maintain their physical and mental health. There is no single factor that can predict who may become a victim of sexual assault. It can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. What is predictable, however, is that survivors will nearly always face disbelief or blame, or both, when they disclose what happened.
“In this case, it is gratifying that so many powerful entities ranging from the Boston Globe, to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, to the Attorney General listened to these men and believed them. By publicly reporting Hefner’s behavior, these survivors have prompted other investigations to take place at the State House. These efforts have already resulted in a series of recommended reforms that, if implemented properly, should begin to change Beacon Hill’s cultural tolerance of sexual harassment and abuse.
“This case illustrates a fundamental truth of the #MeToo movement: listening to survivors is the only way forward.”