A Senate panel advanced a measure that would require county prosecutors to inform sexual assault victims about whether criminal charges will be filed against their accused attackers Friday.
“This important reform was inspired by Katie Brennan’s story of sexual assault and the frustrating manner in which she learned that criminal charges would not be brought in her case,” State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa) said. “Her brave testimony highlighted the need for county prosecutors to be more transparent with and accessible to the survivors of sexual assault, which is exactly what this bill will require.”
Brennan, the State Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency chief of staff, accused former Economic Development Authority Chief of Staff Al Alvarez of sexually assaulting her in April 2017.
The allegations against Alvarez set Trenton aflame and launched months of select committee hearings into the former Murphy campaign staffer’s hiring.
The bipartisan measure, sponsored by Corrado and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), was spurred by Brennan’s case, which also led to Weinberg’s working group on sexual harassment and misogyny in the state’s politics.
“During both public and private hearings, victims of sexual assault shared their concerns that our criminal justice system failed to meet their needs,” Corrado said. “This legislation is recognition that they shouldn’t be treated as little more than witnesses to a crime, but as survivors who deserve to be heard and treated more respectfully by prosecutors.”