Panel grills Murphy administration, campaign staff over rape allegations

David Madden
January 08, 2019 - 1:45 pm
Governor Phil Murphy

Thomas P. Costello/Asbury Park Press via USA TODAY NETWORK

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TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A New Jersey legislative panel has resumed looking into an allegation that a Phil Murphy administration staffer was raped by an aide to the governor while both were working on his campaign in April of 2017. The aide resigned last fall after the allegation went public, but he has maintained his innocence, and no criminal charges have been filed. 

An oversight panel is trying to determine why Katie Brennan’s accusations against Al Alvarez were downplayed until she turned to the Wall Street Journal last October. Questions are now centered on administration and campaign staffers. 

Brennan told her friend Parimal Garg, deputy counsel to the governor, of the April 2017 incident last March.

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"I was shocked. I was heartbroken for my friend, and I offered her my support," Garg said.

He went to his boss, Chief Counsel Matt Platkin, who informed him the matter had been referred to the state ethics office.

"Matt said that he had already relayed Katie’s allegation to Heather Taylor, the chief ethics officer in the governor's office," Garg said. "Matt said there was nothing more for me to do."

The panel is looking for ways to ensure future incidents like this are handled better. 

Meanwhile, Brennan has sued the state. And Alvarez’s case is being investigated by the Middlesex County Prosecutor after the Hudson County Prosecutor declined to file charges.