sexual assault

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.