TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Top aides to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy testified before a committee investigating the hiring of Al Alvarez Tuesday.
The former Murphy campaign staffer was given a job with the state despite facing a sexual assault allegation.
“I needed support and protection,” Katie Brennan, chief of staff for New Jersey’s Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency said.
Brennan says she went to her colleague and friend Justin Braz – a top aide to Gov. Murphy – describing the night she was sexually assaulted by Alvarez.
“I met Katie and one of her friends at Katie’s apartment… Katie then told me Al Alvarez sexually assaulted her the day before… I was shocked and horrified,” Braz said.
A legislative committee is now investigating how Alvarez later got a state job.
Alvarez’s direct supervisor, Charlie McKenna, says his new employee didn’t apply for the position – he was appointed by the Murphy administration.
“It was a unique hiring for me,” McKenna claimed. “Normally when we hire somebody… we do a background check… he just landed on our door.”
Braz said he told others with power in the administration, including Gov. Murphy’s chief of staff Pete Cammarano, about the allegations. Braz reportedly revealed Alvarez’s name, but not Brennan’s.
“I trusted the process would be followed,” the deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs added.
Finally after months, and also many media reports, Alvarez’s boss took action.
Pete Cammarano said he confronted Alvarez about the assault claims and asked the staffer to resign.
“I should not have to be here today. I should not have been attacked,” Katie Brennan told New Jersey officials Tuesday.
The committee is also investigating the process for reporting serious incidents like this. New legislation may be needed to fix the process. CBS2 reached out several times to Alvarez for a comment and have not heard back.