Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy found out about Katie Brennan’s allegations of sexual assault against Albert Alvarez earlier this month, according to Mahen Gunaratna, a spokesman for the governor.
Gunaratna also said that June 2018 email from Brennan to the Murphy’s was referred to the campaign counsel and that the Governor and First Lady were “unaware of the substance” of Brennan’s allegations.
The governor’s office said that transition staff found out that Alvarez, who was a top official in the transition, had been accused of sexual assault and that a prosecutor had closed the case.
”During the transition, transition officials learned that law enforcement had actively investigated an accusation concerning Mr. Alvarez, and that they closed the case and declined to pursue charges. Following a clear background check, Mr. Alvarez received an offer of employment in state government.” Gunaratna said. “When Ms. Brennan raised allegations directly to the Administration in March 2018, the matter was immediately and properly referred to the Chief Ethics Officer of the Governor’s Office and to the Attorney General’s Office, in accordance with state policies and procedures.”
Gunaratna acknowledged the accuracy of a Wall Street Journal report that Brennan had reached out to Phil and Tammy Murphy directly.
“In June 2018, Ms. Brennan emailed the Governor and the First Lady regarding a ‘sensitive matter.’ Unaware of the substance, and because of the time period referenced in Ms. Brennan’s email, the Governor properly referred the matter to his campaign counsel, who spoke to Ms. Brennan and her attorney on multiple occasions,” Gunaratna said.
“On October 2, 2018, Governor Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy were informed for the first time that Ms. Brennan’s allegations involved sexual assault,” said Gunaratna. “The Governor and First Lady were also informed that the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office investigated the matter last year and declined to pursue charges.”
There is a second allegation of a sexual misconduct incident against Alvarez, the governor’s office said.
“We can also confirm that on October 11, 2018, the Governor’s Office received a separate accusation concerning Mr. Alvarez that was promptly referred to the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General,” said Gunaratna. “The information provided pertains to an alleged incident from either 1999 or 2000.”