Katie Brennan sues Murphy campaign, NJ, aide she accuses of rape
TRENTON — Katie Brennan has officially filed a lawsuit against the state and Al Alvarez, the fellow Phil Murphy campaign worker she accuses of raping her at her Jersey City apartment.
Brennan, the current chief of staff at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, filed a notice of tort claim on Dec. 28 ahead of her suit, which was filed in Mercer County Superior Court on Monday. The suit additionally names the Murphy campaign and several "John Does" as defendants.
In the tort claim, Brennan alleged Albert Alvarez raped her in her home on April 8, 2017, during Murphy's gubernatorial campaign. She said she told several officials in Murphy's administration. Alvarez has denied the allegation, but resigned from the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, to which he was appointed after administration officials had learned about Brennan's accusation.
She said the administration acted “unlawfully, intentionally, negligently and/or with reckless indifference” in handling her accusation, which inflicted “emotional distress."
Brennan said she she is filing suit because she "pursued every avenue she could and waved every red flag she could access," but she was ignored.
"If I cannot get justice through currently available complaint systems, who can? It should never have come to this, but every opportunity to take meaningful action was met with disregard," Brennan said in a statement.
"Through her own experience, Ms. Brennan has seen firsthand how the state uses its ‘confidentiality’ policies to shield and protect wrongdoers and hide complaints of sexual misconduct and discrimination,” attorney Katy McClure of Smith Eibeler said in a statement. “Ms. Brennan’s action today is a step toward critical and meaningful change so that survivors of sexual assault and victims of discrimination and harassment in New Jersey will be heard, respected, and believed, rather than silenced, as Katie has been.”
The suit seeks the court to:
- Preclude the state from enforcing a strict confidentiality directive that it imposes against all people interviewed in Office of Equal Employment and Affirmative Action investigations.
- Require the EEO/AA Office to investigate numerous violations of the state’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace as set forth in Brennan’s complaint
- Relieve Brennan from being required to participate in any EEO/AA investigation until after the conclusion of all related criminal proceedings
- Declare the “strict confidentiality directive” null and void
Hearings resume on Tuesday before the Legislative Select Oversight Committee about the incident and the state's handling of Brennan's complaint.