sexual assault

A blistering report by a bipartisan committee of the New Jersey Legislature says the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy “mishandled” an employee’s rape claim and suggested that top officials should be “embarrassed” by their testimony.

The report caps off a legislative investigation that has dogged Murphy’s tenure in office and raised questions about the state’s hiring practices as well as policies for investigating claims of sexual harassment and assault.

A group of attorneys has released the names of 50 men the Boy Scouts of America identified as credibly accused of sexual abuse in the Garden State and barred from participating in the organization.

The attorneys said they obtained the names through lawsuits against the Boy Scouts, which has kept such records since the 1940s.

“It shouldn’t be us disclosing these names. It should be the institutions. It should be the Boy Scouts,” said New Jersey attorney Greg Gianforcaro, who represents sexual abuse victims.

The man at the center of a hiring scandal in New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration said Tuesday he did not know who approved him for a job in state government months after a colleague accused him of rape. He has denied the allegation.

New Jersey’s Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill Thursday evening that would dramatically expand the state’s statute of limitations for sexual assault, allowing survivors to file civil lawsuits against their abusers for conduct that took place years or even decades earlier.

The upvote on a bill that had stalled in the Legislature in previous years came after hours of raw testimony from survivors about the abuse they had endured and the struggles of seeking justice with the state’s two-year limit.

Report lets Murphy officials off the hook, fails to uncover who hired Alvarez

Feb 6, 2019

Gov. Phil Murphy’s transition team and administration could have done more to investigate a complaint of sexual assault against a staffer, according to a new report commissioned by the governor.

The report, written by former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Peter Verniero, indicated several steps not taken, but stopped short of saying that officials ignored or mishandled a complaint by Katie Brennan that Al Alvarez raped her while he was working on Murphy’s 2017 campaign.

Gov. Phil Murphy proposed changes Tuesday in how New Jersey handles complaints of sexual misconduct against employees and job applicants.

The announcement came after another full day of hearings in the state Legislature on why the Murphy administration hired a man whom officials knew had been accused of rape by a colleague.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s chief counsel Friday defended his decision not to tell Murphy about a rape allegation by a former campaign worker for months.

It wasn’t until a reporter made inquiries about the rape allegation that the governor was finally told about it.

Matt Platkin testified before a state legislative committee that he did not tell Murphy about the sexual assault claim because he believed the state’s Equal Employment Opportunity rules required he keep it confidential.

The top ethics officer in New Jersey said the state did not launch an investigation into a sexual assault claim because the attack happened before the victim and the perpetrator were state employees.

Three current and former employees of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy — who worked for him during his campaign and transition team, as well as in his administration — testified Tuesday that they learned of a rape allegation against a Murphy staffer, spoke to higher-ups about it, but took no further action.

The testimony drew criticism from lawmakers who suggested those officials did not do enough to make sure other employees were safe around the alleged attacker Al Alvarez or that action be taken against him.

Katie Brennan
Joe Hernandez for WBGO News

Gov. Phil Murphy says New Jersey government procedures have to change after state worker Katie Brennan's tearful testimony that she was raped and her pleas for help to officials were ignored.

At a Wednesday press conference, Murphy called Brennan “extraordinary” and “poised” for speaking before a state legislative committee about the alleged sexual assault and subsequent attempts to have law enforcement and state government officials help her get justice.

In dramatic testimony before a rapt audience at the New Jersey state House Tuesday, Katie Brennan detailed her many attempts to get justice after she was sexually assaulted by a colleague last year, attempts she said were thwarted by officials who did not take her allegation seriously enough.

Brennan spoke before a joint committee of the state Legislature, which is investigating why Gov. Phil Murphy’s transition and administration officials did little to nothing about Brennan’s claims and allowed Albert Alvarez to remain employed by the state.

New Jersey’s top law enforcement official has issued new guidelines to prosecutors on handling sexual assault cases.

The guidance comes a month after state employee Katie Brennan accused a state worker and Gov. Phil Murphy campaign staffer, Albert Alvarez, of raping her. Alvarez, who has resigned, has denied the charge.

In the directive Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued Tuesday, victims will be allowed to consult with prosecutors before any plea negotiations and, in cases where charges are not brought, meet with prosecutors to discuss why.