FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Brunswick, NJ (January 23, 2019)–Katie Brennan and her legal team responded on Wednesday to the news that the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) has declined to prosecute her rapist, Al Alvarez. Brennan’s attorneys cited grave concerns about the MCPO’s process and vowed to continue the fight for justice.
“We are deeply disturbed and disappointed by this egregious miscarriage of justice,” said Brennan’s attorney, Katy McClure of Smith Eibeler, LLC. “The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office failed Katie Brennan. The Governor’s staff failed her. The Attorney General failed her. And now the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has failed her as well.”
Brennan attorney Alan Zegas characterized the MCPO’s decision as “outrageous.”
“Ms. Brennan offered her testimony to the grand jury, but the Middlesex County Prosecutor declined to present her to a grand jury,” said Zegas. “They also refused to meet with her fresh complaint witnesses.”
McClure noted that on November 27, 2018, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal issued new Standards for Providing Services to Victims of Sexual Assault, including a requirement that “In cases where prosecutors decline to bring charges, the directive requires that they offer the victim the opportunity to meet to discuss the reasons for not pursuing charges.”
“Today’s actions by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office are not in keeping with the spirit of the Attorney General’s directive,” said McClure. “Before issuing a public statement on the matter, the MCPO did not give Ms. Brennan the courtesy of a meeting to discuss the basis for their decision, a written explanation or even a telephone call.”
Rather, McClure said, the MCPO faxed a letter to Zegas, and then immediately issued a press statement that the decision not to proceed with criminal charges was the result of “a lack of credible evidence and corroboration,” reasons not communicated in correspondence to counsel.
Remarkably, McClure noted, the MCPO made this public declaration without speaking to any of Brennan’s fresh complaint witnesses, including her husband, her friend, or Justin Braz, Governor Murphy’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs.
“So many victims of sexual violence are watching their handling of my case, and I know they must be receiving a message loud and clear that they should not come forward,” said Brennan. “This system is broken. Victims like me will not get justice as long as this is the way we are treated by prosecutors and public officials.”
“I will continue to pursue justice for myself and other survivors of sexual violence, and I will keep fighting for accountability for Al Alvarez,” said Brennan. “I won’t stop fighting to shed light and demand serious policy changes to make sure we fix this broken system that has protected sexual predation, silenced survivors, and put victims like me in danger.”