On the heels of a top official in the Gov. Phil Murphy (D) administration alleging she was raped last year by another Trenton staffer who recently resigned, two Republican state Senators are calling for a probe into the governor’s hiring practices.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“The sexual assault alleged by Ms. Brennan was just the beginning of a story that is both heartbreaking and all too common among the victims of sex crimes,” state Senator Tom Kean, Jr. said in a statement.
“Despite taking every reasonable step that a person subject to such a traumatic assault could be expected to take, Ms. Brennan was unable to find justice in either a court of law or with her employer. This should serve as a call to action for the Legislature to address these issues immediately.”
Brennan, the chief of staff at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, told the The Wall Street Journal yesterday that Albert Alvarez, the former chief of staff at the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, raped her during the 2017 gubernatorial campaign.
At the time, Brennan was a Murphy campaign volunteer and Alvarez was a top campaign advisor.
Brennan, 31, a Jersey City resident, also told the WSJ she was offered a $15,000 settlement with a non-disclosure agreement after the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office declined to pursue the case.
“If Ms. Brennan cannot achieve justice after bravely coming forward, repeatedly, then what message does that send to other women, especially those with fewer resources?,” asked state Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40).
“This incident shows that Governor Murphy has set a standard of tolerance for sexual assaulters as long as they haven’t been charged or his top staff believe it’s acceptable to hire such people. Either way, as the Governor likes to say, ‘the buck stops’ with him. A criminal justice system, where the victim does everything right, that isn’t capable of prosecuting sexual assaults effectively is clearly broken. This administration and this state must do better in protecting the victims of sexual assault.”
Murphy and his wife, Tammy Murphy, have said the matter was handled appropriately, though admitted the hiring of Alvarez was a mistake.
The governor’s office also said an alleged incident from “either 1999 or 2000” involving Alvarez had been referred to the state Attorney General’s Office.
Alvarez has not been charged with a crime at this time.