Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy said that allegation of sexual assault needs to be taken seriously and defended the administration’s handling of allegations made by Katie Brennan that Al Alvarez raped her during the 2017 gubernatorial campaign.
“Any allegation of sexual harassment, misconduct, or assault must be treated with the utmost seriousness to ensure that survivors come forward and justice is served,” the Governor and First Lady said in a statement released this afternoon. “Society must no longer allow a culture of silence to flourish, and we are committed to ensuring a culture where everyone feels comfortable reporting any instance of sexual misconduct.”
The statement was issued shortly after a Wall Street Journal story offered details of Brennan’s story.
After the publication of the story, Brennan issued a statement saying that Alvarez raped her.
“We are confident that this allegation was handled appropriately by the Administration and that current policies and procedures were properly and promptly followed,” the Murphy’s said. “However, it is clear that the process during the Transition was inconsistent with our values, and the hire should not have happened. We must now ask: how can we hold ourselves to a higher standard moving forward?”
The Governor and First Lady also responded to Brennan’s call for a review of state policies on sexual misconduct.
The Murphy’s have asked Mamta Patel, the Director of the Statewide Division of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action within the Civil Service Commission, “to review the state’s policies and procedures addressing how allegations of sexual misconduct are handled to determine whether there are ways to improve our system.”
“Survivors continue to astound us with their bravery and determination, said Phil and Tammy Murphy. “This Administration will continue to respect and protect the rights of sexual assault victims, and work to ensure that their voices are heard in the pursuit of justice.”