Rosenberg files pension paperwork, names husband Bryon Hefner as beneficiary upon his death

  • Bryon Hefner, the husband of former Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg. Hefner pleaded not guilty to sexual misconduct charges in April and has been named beneficiary of Rosenberg’s retirement benefits after his death.  Associated Press File Photo 

  • Former Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg filed retirement paperwork on June 6, 2018 and designated his spouse, Bryon Hefner, as his beneficiary upon his death.  File photo

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

AMHERST — Former state senator Stanley Rosenberg filed retirement paperwork earlier this month and named his husband, Bryon Hefner, as the beneficiary of his annual pension after his death. 

Rosenberg, 68, of Amherst, held publicly funded jobs for 38 years and five months, according to his retirement papers, including administrative positions at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and as a member of the state House of Representatives and Senate.

Based on his length of employment and highest earning salary years, he could be eligible to receive around $84,420 annually, according to an analysis by the Boston Globe. Before he resigned as Senate president in December, Rosenberg earned $142,548 annually. 

Under a joint survivor allowance, Hefner could stand to receive as much as $58,260 per year in taxpayer-funded pension benefits after Rosenberg’s death, according to the Globe analysis. As beneficiary, Hefner would receive two-thirds of Rosenberg’s annual pension after his death, for the remainder of Hefner’s life, even if he is convicted of a crime. 

According to state guidelines on retirement benefits, under a joint survivor analysis Rosenberg will receive approximately 7 percent to 15 percent less in annual benefits than he would without designating a beneficiary. However, the guidelines state that the reduction could be greater depending on the age difference between the retiree and beneficiary. 

In his June 6 retirement filing, Rosenberg lists himself as married and designates his spouse, name redacted, to receive his pension after his death. The board has 90 days to process the paperwork. 

Rosenberg stepped down from the Senate presidency after the Boston Globe reported that Hefner, 30, allegedly had sexually assaulted several men and bragged that he had influence over Senate business. The two have been together since 2008 and married since 2016. 

In a December press conference, Rosenberg said he was “shocked and devastated” by the sexual misconduct allegations against Hefner, who he said would soon begin treatment for alcohol dependence. In January, Rosenberg announced that he and Hefner were separated. 

Hefner pleaded not guilty in April to five counts of sexual assault, four counts of distributing nude images without consent, and one count of criminal lewdness. At his arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court, Hefner’s attorney released a statement which referred to him as “Mr. Hefner Rosenberg,” although he had not previously been known to use that compound name. 

A four-month independent ethics investigation concluded at the end of April that Rosenberg failed to protect the Senate from Hefner’s pattern of “disruptive, volatile and abusive” behavior and that he gave Hefner “unfettered access” to his Senate email. 

In May, Rosenberg’s staff confirmed that he and Hefner were separated. Rosenberg declined to comment on the charges against Hefner during the ethics investigation and could not be reached for comment Tuesday about his retirement paperwork. 

Following the release of the ethics report in early May, Rosenberg resigned from the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester Senate seat he had held since 1991. 

M.J. Tidwell can be reached at mjtidwell@gazettenet.com.