The Lead

Leach steps down from key committee post in light of sexual misconduct accusations

By: - February 4, 2019 10:10 pm

Sen. Daylin Leach. (State photo)

Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, is out as the top Democrat on the Senate’s Judiciary Committee after he filed a defamation suit against three women, one of whom is accusing him of sexual assault.

“I have always believed that as elected officials we should always avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Leach said in a statement. “Given that the Judiciary Committee will potentially be taking up legislation that could theoretically be relevant to the battle I am fighting, I thought it was best that I allow the debates on such issues to play out without the distraction of such an appearance.”

The move came after Leach conversed with Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny about the allegation, which he denies. Leach said he expected to move to a new committee as chair. Costa said no decision had been made if Leach would be reassigned, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Leach was accused of sexual harassment in a 2017 article by the Inquirer. Following the story, another women came forward claiming Leach sexual assaulted him in the early 1990’s when Leach was still in private practice.

After the woman distributed her account to each Senator’s office last month, the Senate Democrats launched an internal caucus investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct, according to PennLive.

When the Inquirer story broke, Gov. Tom Wolf, a fellow Democrat, called for him to resign. Leach refused. Since the investigation was announced, numerous other state Democrats have called on Leach to step down, including new Lt. Governor John Fetterman and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

Fellow Democratic Sen. Katie Muth, Montgomery, has also, the Inquirer reports, been circulating an expulsion memo to have Leach removed for his alleged behavior.

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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.