There may be a new sexual harassment policy in place in Trenton, but members of the political establishment are at a loss to explain why the system failed to respond to an alleged sexual assault and its victim.
There is a growing sense of outrage over the failure, particularly among women.
“Furious, disgusted,” said Sen. Teresa Ruiz.
Why did it take so long for authorities to investigate the matter fully? Why did the Murphy campaign and transition office not share information about the alleged assault with the governor? Almost everyone who spoke Monday — the governor included — seemed at a loss about how the system could so thoroughly mishandle a complaint from an alleged sexual assault victim.
The governor’s response on Monday — in addition to having former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Peter Verniero lead an investigation into the facts — included having the Division of Equal Employment Opportunity review policies on how the state handles sexual misconduct cases. Also, the governor asked the attorney general to evaluate the way law enforcement handles charges like this, with an eye toward creating an environment that lets victims feel like they’re being heard.
The Republicans, meanwhile reiterated their calls for full-blown hearings.
“What we’d like to know, and I’d like to know as a legislator, is when someone goes to a prosecutor’s office or goes to an employer, especially an employer who technically is in charge of the state of New Jersey, and/or a transition team, why, for a year, there was no significant response or no satisfaction,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick.
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