Murphy official who quit faced sexual assault allegation, sources say. GOP wants an investigation.

Albert Alvarez abruptly resigned last week from Gov.
Phil Murphy's administration.
The allegation stems from the spring of last year, when Murphy was running for governor.
A top staffer in Gov.
Phil Murphy's administration who resigned last week faced an allegation of sexual assault during a period when he worked on Murphy's gubernatorial campaign, sources told NJ Advance Media.
Three sources said Albert J. Alvarez -- who stepped down Oct.
2 as chief of staff to the New Jersey Schools Development Authority -- was accused of sexual assault in Hudson County by a woman in the spring of last year.
Alvarez has not been charged with a crime.  The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
The alleged victim declined to comment through a third party.
Politico New Jersey, also citing anonymous sources, was the first to report on allegations of "sexual misconduct" against Alvarez on Wednesday night.  One source with detailed knowledge about the woman's account said the alleged victim contacted the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office.
Multiple sources said the prosecutor's office decided not to bring charges.  A spokesman for the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office, Ray Worrall, declined to comment or confirm whether there was ever an investigation into Alvarez.
On Thursday, top Republicans called on the Democrat-controlled New Jersey Legislature to conduct an independent, bi-partisan investigation into the incident and how the Murphy administration treats sexual misconduct.
Murphy, like Alvarez, is a Democrat.
"It is extremely important that all relevant information is revealed as soon as possible related to these allegations," state Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, said in a statement.
"Public hearings by the Legislature are the only way all information is provided to the public." Meanwhile, every Republican woman serving in the Legislation sent a joint letter to legislative leadership Thursday afternoon asking for an investigation into Murphy's "hiring practices." They also want Murphy's administration to disclose "any and all incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual intimidation, or hostile work environment raised during the campaign, the transition, or presently within the administration." Alvarez, 44, of Wood-Ridge, was director for Latino community outreach for Murphy's campaign at the time of the alleged incident.
He later worked for Murphy's transition team as deputy director of personnel before before landing the $140,000-a-year job at the Schools Development Authority.  News of Alvarez's sudden resignation surfaced publicly Tuesday, when Murphy was asked at a news conference in Metuchen why the official resigned.
The governor declined to reveal any details.
"I know that Al has resigned, and beyond that I have no more color to offer," Murphy said.
Murphy's office declined further comment.
Alvarez did not return multiple messages left for him this week.
He also appears to have deactivated at least two of his social media accounts, on Twitter and Instagram.
The timing of the allegation, and especially when the governor was made aware of it, would be key to any investigation.
Two sources with knowledge of the situation said Murphy's transition team was made aware of an accusation against Alvarez in December, but they would not specify what information was received.  Two background checks conducted around that time showed Alvarez did not have any arrests or criminal charges against him, according to the sources.
Alvarez was tapped for the  Schools Development Authority job shortly after Murphy took office in January.  The alleged victim then contacted Murphy's office in March, two sources said.
Another source said she "wrote directly" to Murphy and his wife, First Lady Tammy Murphy.
The two other sources said the victim did not reference the allegation at that time.
Information about the alleged victim's accusations was given "immediately" to a deputy in Murphy's office, according to two sources.
And the state Attorney General's office was informed immediately after that, the sources said.
Sharon Lauchaire, a spokeswoman with the state Attorney General's Office, said the governor's office "conveyed information" to the Attorney General's Office about Alvarez.  "Beyond that we cannot comment on the specifics of the information," Lauchaire said in a statement.
Alvarez previously served as a deputy chief of staff to then-Gov.
Jon Corzine in the 2000s and later was an attorney for the state Democratic Committee.
Ask Alexa In addition to Bramnick and Republican women state lawmakers, state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., R-Union and state Republican Chairman Doug Steinhardt said Thursday an independent investigation is needed to determine if the Murphy administration acted properly.  "New Jersey needs to know if Governor Murphy would go as far as to shelter someone like Al Alvarez," Steinhardt said in a statement.
Democratic leaders did not address calls for an investigation in their responses Thursday.
Democratic leaders of the state Senate -- including President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen -- issued a joint statement Thursday afternoon that they are "disturbed" by the reports.
"This type of behavior has too often been tolerated, ignored or dismissed," the senators added.
"Public officials have a leadership responsibility to help bring about the change in attitudes and actions that is long overdue." State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, said in a statement that the allegations are "both deeply troubling and appalling." "Sexual misconduct is inappropriate in any circumstance," Coughlin added.
"As facts become known, I want to ensure a proper review has been conducted." NJ Advance Media staff writers Susan K.
Livio and S.P.
Sullivan contributed to this report.
Matt Arco may be reached at
Follow him on Twitter @MatthewArco or Facebook.
Brent Johnson may be reached at
Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01. 


Related Videos

Provider, Newark, New Jersey, United States