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State Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency chief of staff Katie Brennan. (Photo by Nikita Biryukov)

Legislators praise Brennan as courageous

By Nikita Biryukov, December 04 2018 12:57 pm

Katie Brennan’s testimony and the questions posed to the chief of staff at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency by the special committee’s co-chairs and vice chairs in the body’s first hearing largely focused on establishing a timeline for the events surrounding Brennan’s assault.

Brennan has accused Al Alvarez, who resigned from his role as chief of staff at the Schools Development Authority in early October, of sexually assaulting her in April 2017, when they were both staffers on Gov. Phil Murphy’s campaign.

The hearing did not delve into the details of the assault and also largely steered clear of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s handling of Brennan’s case.

The prosecutor was looped in a day and a half after the day Brennan says she was assaulted and eventually chose not to pursue charges.

That decision is being investigated by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office. In a report last week, State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said he found no evidence Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez acted improperly in her handling of the case.

For Brennan, that decision was just one in a long line of what she called a series of inadequate responses that eventually led her to take her story public.

“Why did I have to tell my story to the Wall Street Journal for the administration to acknowledge that it should not have hired Mr. Alvarez?” Brennan said. “I should not have to be here today. 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.”

Legislator after legislator praised Brennan for her courage in coming forward.

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