NJ leaders grappling with sex assault claim arising from Murphy gubernatorial campaign

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Katie Brennan spent greater than a yr attempting to get authorities to take motion towards the person she accuses of sexually assaulting her. Lastly, she emailed New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

Ms. Brennan, chief of employees on the state’s housing company and a former volunteer for the governor’s marketing campaign, first known as the police in April 2017, sooner or later, she stated, after a marketing campaign staffer allegedly compelled himself on her. After months of investigation, the county prosecutor’s workplace declined to file prices towards her alleged attacker, saying it didn’t assume a jury would convict him. She turned to state regulation enforcement and high-ranking members of the Murphy administration.  Nothing modified.

Lastly, the 31-year-old Jersey Metropolis resident, who stated she turned down a $15,000 settlement supply from her alleged assailant if she signed a nondisclosure settlement, emailed Mr. Murphy and first woman Tammy Murphy straight.

She didn’t explicitly point out the alleged assault in her June 2018 electronic mail, however requested to talk with the governor or his spouse a few “delicate matter” that had occurred through the marketing campaign. The governor responded inside the hour and stated he was looping in employees to rearrange a time.

“Cling in,” the governor wrote to Ms. Brennan within the electronic mail, which was reviewed by The Wall Avenue Journal. “We’re on it.”

A gathering with the governor was by no means scheduled. And months later, the accused, Albert J. Alvarez, was nonetheless working for the state, as chief of employees on the New Jersey Colleges Growth Authority. Mr. Alvarez resigned his place Oct. 2, the identical day The Journal emailed him for remark.

“At every flip, I’ve simply felt so disenchanted,” Ms. Brennan stated in an interview. “I attempted every part. And none of it labored. If I can’t get any justice, I simply don’t critically know who can.”

Mr. Alvarez’s legal professional, John Hogan, stated his shopper “completely, positively denies these allegations of sexual assault.” He declined to remark additional on any facet of Ms. Brennan’s account. Neither Mr. Alvarez nor his legal professional responded to extra makes an attempt to achieve them by telephone or to an electronic mail with detailed questions.

After his resignation, Mr. Alvarez was named in native and nationwide press studies in regards to the allegation. Ms. Brennan spoke publicly in regards to the alleged assault for the primary time for this text.

New Jersey Republicans have known as for an investigation into Mr. Alvarez’s hiring, and the state Senate’s Democratic management stated in a press release they had been disturbed by the allegations.

Earlier this month, Murphy’s spokesman stated his workplace acquired a separate accusation on Thursday towards Alvarez. The accusation, which was referred to the New Jersey legal professional common’s workplace, involved an incident that allegedly occurred in 1999 or 2000, the spokesman stated. Neither Mr. Alvarez nor his legal professional responded to a request for touch upon the allegation.

For all the eye given to allegations of sexual assault in current months, they continue to be tough for the criminal-justice system. Such crimes typically produce no conclusive proof, making them onerous to analyze and prosecute. Conflicting accounts might be the one materials officers need to work with. Prosecutors have a tendency to say no to pursue circumstances deemed unlikely to win a conviction.

That may go away accusers feeling they’re denied justice. The accused, in the meantime, can nonetheless expertise life-altering impacts from the allegations alone, together with a broken profession and stained popularity.

Legal-justice officers are actually contemplating new concepts about the right way to deal with such circumstances. Greater than a dozen states have handed laws prior to now two years geared toward bettering the dealing with and testing of rape kits, in line with the Nationwide Convention of State Legislatures. Proposals to broaden the authorized definition of intercourse crimes, and to elongate or remove the statute of limitations for sexual assault have handed or are pending in legislatures throughout the nation.

New coaching applications for police and prosecutors engaged on assault circumstances are also being rolled out, together with in Alaska and Illinois.

The governor’s spokesman stated the Murphys didn’t discover out that Ms. Brennan had accused Mr. Alvarez of sexual assault till the primary week of October, when The Journal contacted the administration for remark. In a joint assertion, Gov. Murphy and Ms. Murphy stated they’d requested the director of the Statewide Division of Equal Employment Alternative and Affirmative Motion to assessment how the state handles allegations of sexual misconduct.

“We’re assured that this allegation was dealt with appropriately by the administration and that insurance policies and procedures had been correctly and promptly adopted. Nonetheless, it’s clear that the method through the transition was inconsistent with our values, and the rent shouldn’t have occurred,” the Murphys stated.

“We should now ask: how can we maintain ourselves to the next normal transferring ahead?”

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