A former Murphy gubernatorial campaign volunteer and current administration official told a NJ Legislature committee in early December that she was sexually assaulted in 2017 by a colleague. She claimed that after she informed the Administration about it, they did not take her allegations seriously.
According to her testimony, she attended a campaign event in April of 2017. A co-worker drove her home, then attacked her in her apartment; she was able to get into her bathroom and lock the door. She later informed a Murphy legislative staff member, but asked him to keep the information private.
After the Attack
Months later, she joined Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign. Even though she had been attacked, she did not want it to impact her career. As it turned out, her attacker was now in charge of hiring personnel, and she was applying for a position with one of Murphy’s agencies. She had her lawyer submit a letter to the accused, asking that he not be involved with the hiring decision.
She then had the legislative staff member alert Murphy’s legal team about impending criminal charges. She kept her name anonymous, fearing retaliation.
That same day, the Hudson County’s Prosecutor’s Office decided not to press charges.
A Lack of Support
With her accused attacker working in close proximity, the victim was fearful, so she consulted with a high level staff member. She was informed that the State was not able to pursue the case, because neither she nor her accuser were state government employees when the alleged assault occurred.
Next, she emailed the Governor and First Lady about needing to discuss a personal matter. His office acknowledged her email but did not follow-up.
She then got a phone call from a campaign attorney, telling her that the attacker was leaving the Administration. However, the attacker was still there after two months, so she contacted the Wall Street Journal with her story, which ran in October. Once the news became public, the administration began to take notice.
Allegations are Heard
The victim stated that the Murphy Administration did not make her allegations a priority until the news began to affect them. At the December 2018 hearing, she gave testimony to the New Jersey Legislative Select Oversight Committee.
The Co-chair of the committee said that the systems in place to protect sexual assault victims had failed.
Governor Murphy made a statement, praising the victim for speaking out, and said the administration was conducting its own internal investigation. He added that new rules about how law enforcement personnel will handle sexual assault claims were being developed.
Advocating for Change
The Committee plans to call in more witnesses in the new year. They plan to look into the Administration’s hiring methods, and look for ways to pursue and prosecute more rape cases.
The victim hopes that her experience will pave the way for improving the criminal justice system and offering these victims more support.
An Assemblywoman who also experienced sexual assault praised the victim for being a strong advocate for all women.
Middleton Sexual Harassment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber Fight for Rape Victims
Speaking out about sexual assault is difficult, especially if you do not have needed support. If you or someone you care for is the victim of sexual harassment or assault, contact an experienced, compassionate Middleton sexual harassment lawyer at McOmber McOmber & Luber. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call 888-396-0736, our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us online. We represent clients in Cherry Hill, Middletown and throughout New Jersey.