Panel finds Murphy staff mishandled assault claim response

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (Photo by Edwin J. Torres/Office of Gov. Phil Murphy)

A New Jersey legislative panel investigating Gov. Phil Murphy's handling of a sexual assault claim made by one state worker against another found the administration mishandled its response. 

The Legislative Select Oversight Committee voted Wednesday to release its 123-page report. 

The investigation stems from Katie Brennan's complaint that emerged in an October newspaper account. Brennan, chief of staff of the state's housing authority, alleged Albert Alvarez sexually assaulted her while they were both working to get Murphy, a Democrat, elected in 2017. 

Alvarez, who left as chief of staff at the Schools Development Authority last year, denies the allegations. Law enforcement declined to bring charges. 

The committee says it found Murphy's administration appeared more concerned with "avoiding negative publicity" than following procedures and should have investigated Brennan's allegations more thoroughly.