Katie Brennan, chief of staff of the state's housing finance agency, accused Murphy’s then-campaign chief of staff Albert Alvarez of raping her on April 8, 2017, after Alvarez drove her home from a campaign event while they were both working to get Murphy elected. Alvarez left as the chief of staff of the Schools Development Authority in October 2018 when a news account of the accusation was about to come out.
Alvarez has denied the allegations and wasn’t criminally charged, but it sparked monthslong investigations by Murphy’s team and lawmakers.
“I think it’s a fair and reasonable settlement. We’ve worked collaboratively and constructively with Katie and her team to institute meaningful reforms to support survivors in the workplace,” Murphy said, according to NorthJersey.com. “We look forward to continuing our work on these issues to make New Jersey a leading state for survivor-centric policies as we have been doing now for a long time.”
"I think it’s a fair and reasonable settlement."
No money will go to Brennan, officials said: $600,000 will go to a charity she selected that helps low-income survivors of sexual assault and $400,000 will go to pay her attorneys.
As part of the settlement, Brennan and Alvarez will have a meeting through a facilitator and he will attend an anti-sexual harassment class.
“All survivors deserve the excellent support I had,” Brennan said in a news release Friday. “I hope to create that support for others so that a lack of legal representation is never a barrier to justice.”
“I hope that this can create a model program for other New Jersey survivors,” she added. “Living in silence did not serve me or any other survivors in this state. Speaking out gave me great strength."
"Living in silence did not serve me or any other survivors in this state. Speaking out gave me great strength."
Brennan filed a police report at the time, but prosecutors said no charges would be filed because of "a lack of credible evidence."
In June 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported, Brennan emailed Murphy and his wife, asking to speak with them about a "sensitive matter" that had occurred the previous year.
Meeting never happened
Although Brennan did not specify the nature of the matter, Murphy responded within an hour and said he would schedule a meeting to talk with Brennan, The Journal reported.
“Hang in,” Murphy wrote to Brennan. “We are on it.”
But the meeting never happened, and there were no ramifications for Alvarez, the paper reported.
In October 2018, both of New Jersey's legislative houses voted to start a special commission to look into why Alvarez then scored a $140,000-per-year job in Murphy's administration.
Brennan sued the state over its handling of her allegation, which she reported to officials in the governor's transition and administration. She has said the administration botched its response to her claims, which officials have testified that they found to be credible.
Alvarez filed a countersuit alleging his reputation was destroyed by her claim. The countersuit was resolved in the settlement. Neither party admitted any wrongdoing.
He claimed the two had a consensual encounter, according to NorthJersey.com.
Fox News' Gregg Re and the Associated Press contributed to this report.