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NJ official accused of sex assault told to leave, but not fired

December 18, 2018 - 5:08 pm

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Gov. Phil Murphy's administration twice asked an aide accused of sexual assault to leave state government in the months before a newspaper story detailing the allegations emerged, but stopped short of firing him.

Murphy's chief of staff, Pete Cammarano, told a joint legislative panel Tuesday that he told Al Alvarez in March that he should leave the Schools Development Authority where he was a top aide. Alvarez's former boss, Charlie McKenna, said he told Alvarez to leave state government in June.

Asked why he didn't fire Alvarez, Cammarano said he thought his message was clear.

Alvarez stayed until October, when Katie Brennan detailed allegations in the Wall Street Journal.  Brennan alleges that Alvarez sexually assaulted her in April 2017 when both were working to get Murphy elected. Alvarez denied wrongdoing.