Gov. Charlie Baker is calling on the Massachusetts Senate to investigate a report that the husband of Senate President Stan Rosenberg inappropriately groped and kissed four men connected to the work of state government.

"These are disturbing allegations. They deserve to be reviewed and they deserve to be heard. Period," Baker told reporters in his office Thursday afternoon.

In a report in the Boston Globe published Thursday afternoon, four men, who the Globe granted anonymity, accused Rosenberg's husband Bryon Hefner of kissing and grabbing their genitals without permission. The accusations date from a time period when Rosenberg was not yet Senate President, but expected to be the next in line, and he and Hefner were dating or engaged to be married.

"I think the Senate needs to do their homework here and I think that investigation is one that should be lead by and sponsored by members of the Senate," Baker said.

While Baker struck a hard note in calling for the Senate to take action, the Senate's Republican caucus appears ready to work with Democrats to achieve the kind of bipartisan investigation Baker is calling for.

"Without a doubt, there must be a full and fair process by which the facts should be evaluated, and any wrongdoing in this case should be dealt with swiftly and properly addressed.  No one should manipulate, harm, or abuse anyone else and when they do, there must be appropriate consequences," Senate Republican Leader Bruce Tarr said in a statement.

Tarr went on to say he is working with Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, "to develop a structure and process, to investigate all of the relevant facts and information related to these serious allegations and take appropriate action.”

Democrats voiced support for Rosenberg's leadership Thursday afternoon and said they had no dealing with Hefner on Senate business.

"His husband has, as far as I know, played no role in the material workings of the Senate. I don't see him around," Sen. William Brownsberger (D-Watertown) told reporters.

"I'm unaware of any of that. I haven't seen any evidence, haven't experienced any of it. I have no idea of that," Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy) said.
"I still have confidence in the Senate president I think he does a very good job as Senate President and I expect he'll continue to do a good job as Senate president," Keenan said.

Rosenberg issued a statement Thursday saying the Globe's inquiries were the first he'd heard of the allegations against Hefner.

"This is the first I have heard about these claims. Even though, based on what little I have been told, these allegations do not involve members or employees of the Senate and did not occur in the State House, I take them seriously. To the best of my recollection I was not approached by anyone with complaints during or after the alleged incidents made in this article or I would have tried to intervene," Rosenberg said in a statement.

Attorney General Maura Healey called the allegations "deeply disturbing".
“These allegations are deeply disturbing. We need a full investigation and we need to send a clear message that harassment and assault of any kind will not be tolerated on Beacon Hill," Healey wrote.

Rosenberg, 68, and Hefner, 30, began dating in 2008 and married in 2016.

According to the Globe, Hefner said, in a statement that he was "shocked to learn of these anonymous and hurtful allegations."

"To my knowledge, no one has complained to me or any political or governmental authority about these allegations which are now surfacing years afterward. As one can imagine, it is incredibly difficult to respond to allegations by unnamed and unidentified individuals that involve an extended period of time, particularly in the current environment," Hefner wrote.