What to Know
- Murphy's administration asked aide accused of sexual assault to leave state government months before story detailing allegations emerged
- However, administration stopped short of firing him
- Murphy's chief of staff told joint legislative panel that he told Al Alvarez in March that he should leave Schools Development Authority
A state government employee says she was angered and deeply upset by New Jersey prosecutors' decision not to charge a former state official she accused of sexual assault.
Katie Brennan, chief of staff for the state Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, said she learned of the decision by the Middlesex County prosecutor's office as she was driving to a meeting last week.
"I went from numb to angry to crying - wildly crying - on my way to a meeting," Brennan told NJ Advance Media on Thursday. She immediately called her husband, and "he cried," she said.
Middlesex County prosecutors cited "lack of credible evidence and corroboration that a crime was committed" in deciding against bringing charges against Albert Alvarez, who Brennan accused of sexually assaulting her in 2017 when they were both working to get Gov. Phil Murphy elected.
Alvarez left as the Schools Development Authority's chief of staff last year when Brennan's accusation was about to become public. His attorneys called the prosecutors' decision a "vindication" and said their client's career had been devastated.
Brennan, 31, is suing the state over how the allegation was handled. Murphy has defended his administration's response but ordered an internal probe while lawmakers pursue their own.
The Hudson County prosecutor initially failed to bring charges, and that county's prosecutor recused herself after realizing she knew both accuser and accused, which she said had not affected her decision against bringing charges. A review by the Middlesex County prosecutor was ordered by the state attorney general after Brennan went public with her story. NBC 4 New York typically doesn't name victims of alleged sexual assault, but Brennan chose to come forward.
"I had a glimmer of hope again," Brennan said, but she said optimism faded after investigators didn't interview her husband and her best friend, who she said she contacted right after the alleged attack. "So when they talk about credibility and corroboration, I don't know who they are corroborating my story with," she said.