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October 16, 2018
Contact: Casey Olesko 973-775-2781 / [email protected]

Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey calls on the governor and state legislators to take action to support sexual assault survivors

TRENTON, NJ – Yesterday, Governor Murphy responded to Katie Brennan’s allegation of sexual assault against Al Alvarez, a member of the governor’s transition team and the former chief of staff of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority. (Alvarez reportedly resigned when he learned that the Wall Street Journal would publish a report about the alleged sexual assault.) Ms. Brennan reports that high-ranking members of the governor’s transition team and administration failed to respond when she reported the sexual assault. Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey issued the following statement in response:

“Sexual assault is a serious crime and Katie Brennan’s allegations deserved swift and thorough investigation. While we appreciate Governor Murphy’s statement and call for an investigation into the alleged attack, we are outraged that Ms. Brennan’s complaint was not acted upon until a major newspaper covered it.

“Governor Murphy has acknowledged that New Jersey can and must do better. The administration must be transparent if they truly wish to stand with women and support survivors – they must pledge to improve the myriad systems that failed Ms. Brennan. We support Governor Murphy’s promise to launch external investigations into hiring practices and prosecutions of sexual assault to ensure that sexual predators are brought to justice.

“We also support Ms. Brennan in her call to protect and respect survivors by addressing the two-year statute of limitations on civil actions in sexual assault cases. As Ms. Brennan has noted, she has already spent a year trying to get a criminal prosecution of her alleged attacker. Her request that survivors like her have more time to gather the resources to pursue civil remedies makes sense and would help accommodate the emotional, physical and financial obstacles survivors face.

“Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey calls on the governor and the State Legislature to take immediate action to help protect survivors of sexual assault. But we need more than laws; we need to listen to survivors and educate would-be perpetrators. We need a culture change, and to get there we need to ensure that every person is educated about sexual consent. Age appropriate, comprehensive sexual health education programs do just that and should be offered in every school — from grade school to college.”