2nd accuser says she didn’t want to ruin Murphy staffer’s life
TRENTON — A former Murphy administration official who resigned this month after a woman accused him of sexual assault during the campaign also attacked a woman in 1999, the second woman told reporters this week.
The new allegation comes after a Sunday report in The Wall Street Journal detailing Katie Brennan's accusation that Albert Alvarez raped her in her Jersey City apartment following a Murphy campaign event last year.
While Brennan reported the assault to police — which did not result in any criminal charges pursued by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office — the second woman said she declined to report what happened to her because she did not want a drunken night to ruin Alvarez's life.
The second woman emailed Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver with her story on Oct. 11 a day after news of the accusation by Brennan, who had not yet been named in the press. Murphy acknowledged on Sunday that he had received a second complaint against Alvarez dating back to 1999.
Alvarez resigned his job as chief of staff of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority on Oct. 2, the same day that Gov. Phil Murphy says he first learned that Brennan's accusation against him involved sexual assault. Brennan said she informed Murphy, his wife and administration officials about her trouble with Alvarez as far back as the transition.
Brennan's story has resulted in calls by lawmakers to investigate Alvarez's hiring. Murphy has commissioned his own inquiries, including one by an outside firm. The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office is taking a new look at the case because the Hudson prosecutor knows Alvarez and Brennan, although she says she was not involved in the initial investigation.
“Let me be absolutely and unequivocally clear: This should never have happened,” Murphy said of the hiring of Alvarez. "In this instance, the hiring process of the transition did not reflect our values or the seriousness with which we believe allegations of assault should be taken. Period.”
The second woman to come forward told Politico New Jersey that she was attacked by Alvarez during a party in 1999 with Rutgers Law Review staff members. She said they had been drinking.
In an email that she sent Oct. 11 to Murphy and Oliver, the woman said she went to another room to call her then-boyfriend to pick her up when Alvarez came into the room, closed the door, pushed her against a wall and attempted to kiss her. She shared the email with Politico.
She said she told Alvarez to stop but he only relented when another man opened the door. Alvarez later apologized and also asked her to have her boyfriend, who confronted him, to stop talking to him.
She told Politico that a Rutgers dean encouraged her to report the incident to police but did not because she didn't want a drunken night to ruin his life. She was 26 at the time.
The woman told NJ.com that she is now married with two children. Her memories about the attack were brought to the fore by the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
She told NJ.com that she wanted to show support for Brennan so people would believe her story.