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Democratic leader: Leach should quit over ‘troubling’ claims

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    FILE - In this May 1, 2015, file photo Pennsylvania State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, takes part in a May Day demonstration in Philadelphia. Minority Leader Jay Costa, the Democratic leader of the Pennsylvania Senate says an investigation of sexual misconduct claims against Montgomery County state Sen. Daylin Leach found a “lengthy pattern of troubling behavior” and that he should resign.
    Leach, however, said Thursday, June 6, 2019 that he feels vindicated after getting to read a summary of the findings (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Published June 07. 2019 07:34AM

HARRISBURG — The top Democrat in the Pennsylvania Senate said Thursday that an investigation of sexual misconduct claims against Sen. Daylin Leach found a “lengthy pattern of troubling behavior” and that he should resign.

But Leach, a fellow Democrat, said he felt vindicated after reading a summary of the findings.

The investigation examined an allegation that Leach sexually assault a woman in 1991 while he represented her mother in a criminal matter, as well as claims that he used sexual language, engaged in inappropriate touching and told off-color jokes.

The investigation by Harrisburg lawyer Michael McAuliffe Miller found no evidence of actionable discrimination or harassment. It said the rape claim could likely only be resolved if the parties testified under oath.

Leach denies the assault but apologized for sometimes telling inappropriate jokes.

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said in a news release Thursday that the report in no way absolves Leach and that Democratic senators want more information to be added to the final version of the report. Costa spent hours behind closed doors Wednesday, going over the findings with other Democratic senators during a meeting that excluded Leach.

“Senator Leach’s course of conduct created an unprofessional and sexualized environment,” Costa said. “That should not be tolerated in any workplace; we will not tolerate it here. For this reason, I believe Senator Leach should resign from the Senate.”

Leach said Costa told him directly the report exonerated him and threatened severe consequences if Leach released the summary, which Leach posted online. He said Costa told him there were caucus members who were unhappy with the report and wanted to find additional witnesses.

“The fact is that Senator Costa wanted me to participate in a cover-up. He threatened me to keep silent about a taxpayer funded report and tell the press a lie,” said Leach, who represents the Philadelphia suburb of Montgomery County.

The summary said there are “certain factual inconsistencies” in Cara Taylor’s recollection of what happened in 1991, when she says she was the victim of a “sexual assault of a minor by forcible compulsion” at Leach’s hands. But the report added she “steadfastly believed her account of what transpired — her testimony on this point was detailed and passionate.” Leach adamantly denies any inappropriate conduct with Taylor, Miller said.

Taylor said she was 17 years old when Leach allegedly lured her into his home in Allentown, took off his clothes and pressured her for oral sex.

The Associated Press does not identify people who say they are the victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, as Taylor has.

“Ultimately, credibility disputes occasioned by the passage of time, among other things, may only be resolved through a contested hearing held under oath,” Miller wrote in the report summary. He did not return a message seeking comment.

Taylor triggered the Miller investigation by distributing a five-page description of her claims against Leach to Senate offices in January.

Leach said he has been “in a vortex of constant, unrelenting publicity that sought to portray me as something I am not.”

“Of course, vindication does not mean that I am without flaws, the report does say that I have on occasion used poor judgment in my choice of humor,” Leach said. “I apologize to anyone who may have been offended, and I will work hard to do better.”

Taylor’s attorney said she was “astonished” that the report only recommended sexual harassment training for Leach.

“In the post #MeToo age, we know any employer or administration that tolerates sexual harassment and assault, tolerates discrimination and silencing of women,” Carrie Goldberg wrote in an emailed statement.

She said she hopes the Democratic Caucus comes up with its own punishment and joined Costa’s call for Leach’s resignation.

Leach sued Taylor and two others in January, claiming they “combined to publish, republish and widely disseminate a salacious and despicable falsehood” about him.

That litigation is pending. The two other women did not return messages seeking comment.

Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin said in January that authorities got a statement from Taylor in two meetings last year. Martin declined to say whether Taylor’s claim was credible because the statute of limitations would have expired in 1997.

Among the findings in Miller’s summary:

—Leach and multiple employees referred to an intern or employee as “thong girl” because her underwear was once visible. Miller said it was not actionable sexual harassment, but Leach should not condone such behavior.

—Leach did not touch a former staffer and caucus employee on the rear or tickle her torso at her desk, Miller said. Leach said the touched the woman’s shoulders from excitement that she had been hired to work for Senate Democrats.

—Leach admitted an employee showed him a 10-second pornographic video clip in the office. Investigators found it to be “poor judgment” and something that could make up part of a claim of a hostile work environment.

—Leach made immature and unprofessional jokes and comments to campaign staff.

Comments
I am neither a democrat or republican but I have to applaud Costa for trying to set the tone and expectations of our leaders. With the current immorality in the Whitehouse, we risk losing the concept of moral leadership. Trump has done far worse than what Leach is accused of. Its funny that the GOP once demanded morality but is now an "ends justify the needs". Now that the economy is clearly slowing down (see jobs report) I think the GOP will come back to its senses....at least I hope. With the GOP leadership lining up against tariffs and selling weapons to countries with poor human rights records, we are starting to see hope.
Hey Joe... Trump worked for Trump at the time when he was hanging out and behaving like a reprobate democrat. There's a difference. But the question is, how did the POTUSget drawn in to this? Hate much Joe?
Oh Mike, he was making payments to strippers he was banging during the campaign and during his time as president elect (both funded in part by the tax payers) and engaged in covering it up as president. That doesn’t count? Not sinful?

I’ll tell you what, when proof of trump’s cheating in the whitehouse comes out will you pledge to call for his resignation? Or will you look the other way?
Oh Joe, years before (20?) the man who is now President had consensual relations with women. Is it illegal for a man and a woman to have consensual relations? No. Were the women all capable of making their own choices? They were all of age. Why is it any of your business? Are you one of Trump’s ex-wives? Are you a jealous mother? Did you miss out of a chance to blackmail Trump? Your multiple accusations are unfounded Joe. You use blasphemy against someone you don’t even personally know. If the family of the individual forgives someone, why are you sticking your nose in? Who are you Pious Joe?
You, Joe, are a fraud to yourself.
I’ll tell you what, when proof of Trump’s morality in the White House comes out will you pledge to rebuke your mental illness? Or, will you look away in bitter denial of things you refuse to accept?
I will never run away from a fraud like you Joe. Mr. Meyers will never run away either. Maybe he had something better to do. To be quite honest, it is boring to have to review the same information over and over and over again with you. You refuse facts that answer the very questions you demand answers for. You display tremendous gaps in knowledge and understanding. I wish you were smarter Joe. I am sure Meyers is the same way. When you deal with someone that is both obstinate and ignorant, like you Joe, sometimes you need a break. Maybe you can take supplements to enhance your brainpower. Or, maybe you can get people to help you. That would make you a more worthy opponent and Meyers wouldn’t get bored and leave. There would never be a reason to run away from you Joe.
Come on Joe. Who are you to question President Trump’s morality? You build a wall of self-imposed ignorance about yourself and your fake morality. Are you one of Trump’s ex-wives? What is it any of your business about Trump’s consensual relationships?You, Joe, are a fraud to yourself. You are a hater that looks beyond intellect. You are unable to come to your senses. You are an “ends justify the means” hater as you might remember from your previous ignorant posts. You glee with any negative information about Trump or America. You refuse information that is positive. You have Trump Derangement Syndrome. Tariffs work, Mexico is coming around. Keep up the willful ignorance Joe your extreme bias has rendered you intellectually useless. Overlook the success of the Mexico tariffs Joe? Win, win,win!

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