HARRISBURG — At a Capitol news event Monday on proposed sexual harassment legislation, calls continued for State Sen. Daylin Leach to resign.
A dozen lawmakers — including eight of Leach’s Democratic colleagues in the Senate — took turns calling for movement on bills aimed at preventing workplace harassment, noting that the government is not immune. Standing alongside them was Gwen Snyder, a #MeToo activist who said the Montgomery County senator should quit or face expulsion. Snyder has protested against Leach for months, and has been sued by him for defamation.
“Right now, I am being sued by Daylin Leach for having the temerity to stand up for other women and stand up for my beliefs,” said Snyder, of Philadelphia, adding that "the time for decorum is over.”
Leach, meanwhile, continued to defend himself from what he has called fictional or exaggerated accounts of his behavior involving women. He has rebuffed calls to step down and is running for reelection next year. On Monday, he said he supports many of the anti-harassment bills introduced by his colleagues.
“I support legislation to help make people safer in the workplace,” he said. “I always have.”
Leach faces allegations of making inappropriate jokes or engaging in inappropriate touching. He separately has been accused of luring a woman into oral sex in 1991, when she was a teenager and he was a lawyer in private practice. Leach has denied the allegation and sued the woman for defamation, along with Snyder and another #MeToo activist who championed her.
“I struggle to take anything Gwen Snyder says seriously," Leach said.
Late last week, a summary of findings was released from an investigation ordered by Senate Democrats into the allegations against Leach. Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D., Allegheny) has not released the report, but said it described “a lengthy pattern of troubling behavior spanning several years."
Costa, who was at Monday’s news conference, has said that the report is not final because some senators asked for clarification on parts of it.
One of those senators, Democrat Katie Muth of Montgomery County, said Monday that she had been interviewed for two hours about her interactions with Leach. She said that her information — as well as that of fellow Democratic Sen. Maria Collett of Montgomery County — was reduced to a few lines.
Muth has pushed to expel Leach. On Monday, she said that coming to the Capitol, where she and Leach often attend closed-door meetings, has been emotionally draining, and that Leach has become a distraction.
Leach said he has been told that Muth’s complaint, which could have triggered expulsion proceedings, was dismissed on a technicality.
Last week, Leach released a summary of the investigation’s findings, a document he believes exonerates him. He has suggested the full report has been withheld as a “cover-up” to obscure his innocence — a notion some Democratic senators have disputed.
The lawyers handling Leach’s defamation suit subpoenaed the full report, and attorneys for Senate Democrats are reviewing it.