Another woman is alleging that former Murphy administration official Al Alvarez sexually assaulted her during the early days of the gubernatorial campaign and says she would testify before the Legislature’s Select Committee on Investigation if asked.
The allegation came from Sylvia Jáuregui, who said that Alvarez invited her to dinner in June 2016 to discuss a business proposal she submitted to the Murphy campaign, then spiked her drink and sexually assaulted her.
Jáuregui said that Alvarez suggested that “we do some shots” and ordered a bottle of Tequila.
“I don’t know what he put in the shots,” Jáuregui told the New Jersey Globe. “The next thing I remember, I woke up naked on his mattress.”
She said she asked Alvarez what happened.
“We had a good time,” she remembers him saying.
“Well, you did. I don’t recall shit,” Jáuregui says she told him. “Did you at least use a condom with me?”
Alvarez said he did not, according to Jáuregui.
She says she did not consent to any sexual relationship with Alvarez.
“I’m 100% sure I was unconscious,” Jáuregui said. “I will testify to that. I never expect someone to take you to their house.”
Jáuregui says that she did not tell anyone about the assault and did not report it to law enforcement. She said that she saw a physician three months later to reassure herself that Alvarez did not have a sexually transmitted disease.
She decided not to take any legal action.
“I was broke,” she said as the reason why she did not speak with an attorney. “My goal was to not do it because it would hurt me more than help me.”
Jáuregui, 40, who ran Jersey Bound Latino Magazine, as well as a company that specialized in marketing and public relations in the Hispanic community, is the third woman to allege sexual assault by Alvarez.
Katie Brennan, a volunteer on Murphy’s campaign and now an administration official, says that Alvarez raped her in 2017 after he drove her home from a campaign event. Another individual, whose name has not been made public, said that Alvarez assaulted her when they were students at Rutgers Law School in 1999 or 2000, according to a statement the governor’s office released earlier this week.
Jáuregui says she decided to go public with her story after reading about Brennan’s allegations.
“I wish this doesn’t happen to someone else. I wish other women will come out,” Jáuregui said.
Alvarez’s attorney, John Hogan, said that his client and Jáuregui were in a consensual relationship.
“They dated for about one to two months. They had consensual sexual relations multiple times during that relationship,” Hogan told the New Jersey Globe. “This was not work related. This was not a one-night stand.”
Hogan said it was Alvarez who “chose to end the relationship.”
“There is an inappropriate motivation behind these false and malicious allegations,” Hogan said.
Jáuregui denies dating Alvarez.
“No, that’s not true,” Jáuregui said. “We were not dating.”
In April 2016, weeks before Murphy announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination for Governor, Jáuregui said she met Alvarez and Murphy at a Latino event in North Jersey. She said when Alvarez heard her business involved marketing to Latinos, he said the campaign was looking for vendors to help in that area. He asked her to write up a proposal and provided Jáuregui with his personal e-mail account.
Alvarez, who resigned earlier this month as chief of staff at the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, invited Jáuregui to a Latino Policy Forum that Murphy was hosting in Paterson on May 4. Jáuregui attended.
Sometime after meeting, Jáuregui said Alvarez called to invite her to join him at a concert. She said he picked her up at her home in Union Township – he was driving an SUV that resembled an Infinity or Acura. After the concert, she said Alvarez drove her home.
“He didn’t do anything that night,” she recalled. “He was a nice guy.”
Jáuregui provided the New Jersey Globe with copies of e-mail exchanges she had with Alvarez regarding her business proposal, as well as details of her plan to help Murphy’s outreach to Hispanic voters.
“Perhaps we could get together soon and discuss this in more detail at some point,” he wrote her in a June 20, 2016 e-mail.
According to Jáuregui, Alvarez again picked her up at her home and took her to New York City, but she could not recall the name of the restaurant. She said she viewed the dinner as a business meeting, “definitely not a date.”
After “doing a few shots,” Jáuregui said the next thing she remembers was waking up naked in Alvarez’s bed.
She described Alvarez’s apartment as just a mattress on the floor, with no other furniture. He had just moved in, she says he told her.
Jáuregui was unable to provide the location of Alvarez’s apartment, but said it was in a commercial area with stores on the first floor and apartments above it. She remembered there was a bridge next to the building, on the other side of a large parking lot.
Alvarez was living at 601 Riverside Avenue in Lyndhurst at the time of the alleged assault, according to payroll records the Murphy campaign filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
The New Jersey Globe showed Jáuregui a Google image of the exterior of the building where Alvarez lived, which matched her earlier description of his apartment complex. She identified it as the place where she woke up the next morning.
After finding herself in his apartment, Jáuregui said she told Alvarez she didn’t want to work for the campaign and didn’t want to hear from him again. She got dressed and called a taxi to take her home.
Jáuregui said that she believes Murphy did not know about the assault.
“It’s not his fault,” Jáuregui said. “But he’s the leader. He has to do something about it.”
In addition to the sexual assault allegations against Alvarez, Jáuregui says that Murphy and others need to address a larger issue of sexism on political campaigns where a quid pro quo exists for women who want to become involved in the man’s world of politics.
She said a pay-to-play system exists.
“The pay is the sex,” Jáuregui said. “Men have the power to give contracts. To put a woman in bed.”
Two years later, Jáuregui now believes that Alvarez planned to trade a potentially lucrative campaign contract for a sexual relationship.
“He promised to get me a contract,” Jáuregui said. “When he had the sex, he never called me back. He abused the power he had. After that, I was totally disposable.”
Jáuregui said she hopes to address the way she was treated if the legislative committee calls her to testify.
“What he did to me, it was like using the carrot on the stick with the horse,” said Jáuregui. “I feel betrayed, horrible, stupid. I feel deceived.”
The New Jersey Globe spoke with four individuals who know Jáuregui and are active in Democratic politics; only one of the four was identified by Jáuregui as someone who could attest to her character. All four said they found Jáuregui credible.
“She’s never had a vindictive agenda,” said one Democratic leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Seeking to move on with her life, Jáuregui has returned to her native Ecuador. She now handles public relations in South America for a Canadian company and says she is doing well.
“I’ve overcome the situation,” she said, adding that she had to leave New Jersey because she was abused.
But Jáuregui says she wants to make sure other women don’t get taken advantage of the way she did.
“The system is broken, and it needs to be fixed, otherwise women will never achieve the respect and the opportunities we strive for,” Jáuregui said.