Subscribe

login / sign up

close and back to page

Latest News

Latest News

N.J. Governor Orders Probe Into Hiring Process of Top Official Accused of Sexual Assault

"On April 8th, 2017, Al Alvarez raped me. On April 9th, 2017, I learned that the system is broken," Katie Brennan said in a statement.

N.J. Governor Phil Murphy / REUTERS

A scandal touches Trenton, as the former chief of staff of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, Albert J. Alvarez, steps down from his $140,000-a-year job after being accused of sexual assault.


Katie Brennan, age 31, chief of staff at the New Jersey Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency, gave a detailed account of the alleged sexual assault back in April 2017. When Alvarez and Brennan were colleagues on Phil Murphy's campaign for governor, Alvarez gave Brennan a ride home after an event for the Latino and Muslim community outreach. Brennan was a volunteer campaign aide and worked with the director, Alvarez.

Instead of dropping her off, once they arrived at her home, Brennan said he asked to use the bathroom. When Alvarez got inside, he pushed Brennan down onto the couch, groped and digitally penetrated her.

Brennan told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Sunday that she yelled, "'Stop, why are you doing this?'" "And then I straight up said: 'This is not consensual.'"

She said Alvarez did not back down and ripped off her pants and underwear before she broke loose from him and locked herself in the bathroom until he left.

The following day, Brennan underwent a sexual assault examination at the Jersey City Medical Center Emergency Department. Brennan said she had reported the assault initially to Hudson County prosecutors, and regularly followed up with them, but to no avail. Alvarez was never charged.

After the Wall Street Journal article published, Brennan issued a statement, which said, in part:

"On April 8th, 2017, Al Alvarez raped me. On April 9th, 2017 I learned that the system is broken.

"Several senior level members of the Murphy administration were aware of my assault and failed to take meaningful action. Al Alvarez remained employed at a senior level in the Murphy administration until just a few weeks ago, when he knew the Wall Street Journal article was coming out and opted to resign. The failure of members of Gov. Murphy's staff to respond in an aggressive, proactive fashion is unacceptable."

According to NJ.com, a Murphy spokesman said Murphy and his wife, Tammy, were not informed of the allegations until Oct. 2 when Alvarez resigned.

Such charges would have had significant effects in the hiring of Alvarez to a top position in the Murphy camp.

"I wish we hadn't made the hire in transition, period," Murphy said in a press conference on Monday. "I'm sick to my stomach once I heard what happened."

Governor Murphy's office has hired an independent investigator to probe into the allegations against Alvarez. In addition, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office has begun an investigation as to why Alvarez was never charged with assault.

"We will not follow the lead of Washington," Murphy told the press. "This will be a real investigation."

Through an attorney, Alvarez denied that he assaulted Brennan.

Black Student in Kansas Sues School District for Racial Discrimination

The dance team's choreographer told Camille Sturdivant that her skin was "too dark" to perform because she "clashed" with uniforms.

Camille Sturdivant and coaches Kevin Murakami and Carley Fine

Camille Sturdivant has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Blue Valley School District for the abuse she was subjected to as a member of the high school dance team.

Read More Show Less

Cardi B. Delivers a More Effective Speech About Trump's Shutdown on Instagram Than Politicians

"Our country is in a hellhole right now," she said. "All for a f‐‐‐ing wall."

Rapper Cardi B. told her 39 million Instagram followers on Wednesday night what she really thought about President Trump's partial government shutdown, his wall and about his absurd request to force people who aren't getting paid to go back to work.

She didn't mince words (she uses explicit language in the video).

Read More Show Less

Five Cops Fired, Two Suspended After Man in Custody Died

"I can't breathe," Christopher Lowe said before he died. But officers still failed to call for help.

The Fort Worth Police Department has terminated five officers and suspended two for their involvement in the death of Christopher Lowe, 55, while he was in police custody last July.

Read More Show Less

Vermont Continues to Fail Black Legislator Racially Harassed By White Nationalist

Kiah Morris resigned from her position because of the harassment, but Vermont's attorney general said he will not file charges against the perpetrators, including Max Misch.

Kiah Morris was the only Black woman in the Vermont House of Representatives, until she resigned from her position in September, after enduring years of racially motivated harassment.

Read More Show Less

Trump's Government Shutdown Closes MLK Historic Sites

Ebenezer Baptist Church and most of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta are closed. "I feel a bit of sadness...I didn't expect to cry over this," said Bernice King.

Tuesday was Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and next Monday is our national celebration of the civil rights icon.

But school field trips, celebrations, families' visits to teach children about civil rights and the values of all people being created equally are being canceled due to President Trump's government shutdown.

Thousands of people who flock to Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor, and to his home, as well as the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C., will be disappointed. They are all closed.

Read More Show Less

Roku Pulls Racist 'Infowars' After Social Media Backlash

Alex Jones, founder of Infowars, has also been accused of sexual harassment. He allegedly grabbed a Black employee's backside saying: "Who wouldn't want a Black wife?"

Reuters

Six months after major social media channels such as YouTube and Twitter banned Alex Jones' Infowars, Roku, a streaming service, added a channel for the show's 24 million users. Apparently, there has been a channel for the show on Roku for years, according to Roku spokesman Eric Savitz.

Read More Show Less