New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Kristin Corrado
Senator Tom Kean

Kean & Corrado: Sexual Assault Detailed in WSJ Story Should Serve As a Call to Action for the NJ Legislature

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Kristin Corrado said new details of an alleged sexual assault by a former campaign worker of Governor Phil Murphy reinforce the need for legislative hearings into the administration’s hiring practices, and said the difficulties experienced by the victim in seeking justice should prompt a review of New Jersey’s criminal and civil statutes regarding sexual assault.

Sen. Tom Kean and Sen. Kristin Corrado said new details of an alleged sexual assault by a former campaign worker of Gov. Phil Murphy reinforce the need for legislative hearings, and called for a review of New Jersey’s criminal and civil statutes regarding sexual assault. (©iStock)

“The sexual assault alleged by Ms. Brennan was just the beginning of a story that is both heartbreaking and all too common among the victims of sex crimes,” said Kean. “Despite taking every reasonable step that a person subject to such a traumatic assault could be expected to take, Ms. Brennan was unable to find justice in either a court of law or with her employer. This should serve as a call to action for the Legislature to address these issues immediately.”

Ms. Brennan and her alleged assaulter worked together as staffers on Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign, and both later were employed in government roles in the new administration.

A published story in the Wall Street Journal detailed Ms. Brennan’s comprehensive efforts to pursue criminal charges, and to inform high-ranking members of the governor’s transition team, his administration, and even Governor Murphy himself of the assault.

Despite reporting the assault almost immediately to law enforcement, criminal charges were never filed. Similarly, the Murphy Administration later hired the aggressor and allowed him to remain employed in a highly paid position despite being informed of the allegations.

“If Ms. Brennan cannot achieve justice after bravely coming forward, repeatedly, then what message does that send to other women, especially those with fewer resources?” asked Corrado. “This incident shows that Governor Murphy has set a standard of tolerance for sexual assaulters as long as they haven’t been charged or his top staff believe it’s acceptable to hire such people. Either way, as the Governor likes to say, ‘the buck stops’ with him. A criminal justice system, where the victim does everything right, that isn’t capable of prosecuting sexual assaults effectively is clearly broken. This administration and this state must do better in protecting the victims of sexual assault.”

Kean and Corrado reiterated their call for legislative hearings on the hiring practices of the Murphy administration. Further, they called for an accelerated review of pending legislative reforms that would help the victims of sex crimes to achieve justice in both the criminal and civil legal systems of New Jersey.

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