Katie Brennan may sue NJ over its handling of her rape allegation
TRENTON — Katie Brennan has notified Attorney General Gurbir Grewal she may file a discrimination suit against the state because the Hudson County Prosecutor declined to file rape charges against the fellow Murphy administration staffer she's accused of assaulting her, Al Alvarez.
Eight months after the incident, which is alleged to have occurred when both Brennan and Alvarez were still members of Gov. Phil Murphy's campaign, investigators told Brennan that they determined the evidence in the case was "not strong enough" to get a conviction, she has recounted.
Brennan spelled out her allegations against Alvarez to the Wall Street Journal in an October interview. According to the story, Brennan said the incident happened after a gathering of campaign staffers in Jersey City in April 2017 when Alvarez offered to drive her home and then asked to use her bathroom. Brennan said Alvarez pushed her onto the a couch and forced himself on her.
Brennan told the Wall Street Journal she called police the day after the attack and went to Jersey City Medical Center for a sexual assault evaluation.
In the letter dated November 30 obtained by NJ.com Brennan's attorney said she had "claims that arise, at a minimum, under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination."
Alvarez resigned from his position as chief of staff for the state Schools Development Authority in October, when the Journal first posted Brennan's story. Brennan said she had been told in June that Alvarez would be jettisoned over the April 2017 incident and was surprised he was still on the payroll months later.
Brennan told her a joint legislative committee on Tuesday about her experience.
“I should not have to be here today," Brennan told lawmakers. "I should not have been attacked. I reported my attack to the police and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and my report went unheard. I reported my attack to the campaign and transition committee and administration, and it went unheard. I asked to report my attack to the governor and first lady, and my request went unheard. I and no survivor should have to tell their story to the newspaper to be heard.
“I had access to people in the highest positions of power in the state of New Jersey, and at each turn my pleas for help went unanswered," Brennan said. "Somehow, it wasn’t a priority to address my sexual assault and working with my rapist until it impacted them.”
Previous reporting by Michael Symons was used in this report