HARRISBURG — Two more leaders in Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party on Friday called for Sen. Daylin Leach to resign, citing a law firm’s report describing “a lengthy pattern of troubling behavior” regarding the Montgomery County lawmaker’s interactions with women.
“Pennsylvanians deserve legislators who can support women in both policy and in practice. Abusive behavior from anyone — Democrat or Republican — is unacceptable and has no place in Harrisburg," party chairwoman Nancy Patton Mills and vice chairman Sharif Street, a state senator from Philadelphia, said in a statement. "As a result of the facts compiled by the Senate Democratic Caucus investigation into the allegations against Senator Daylin Leach, we are standing with Governor Tom Wolf, Democratic Leader Jay Costa, and other Democrats in their calls for Senator Leach’s resignation.”
Their call came as the party prepared for its summer meeting in Harrisburg. It also came one day after Costa, of Allegheny County, said Leach should step down.
Leach said Friday that he is “absolutely not” planning to resign. He criticized the calls for his departure.
“It’s not a legitimate thing to do,” Leach said. “Voters decide elections, not party bosses.”
Caucus leaders had ordered a review by an outside law firm after allegations by an Allentown-area woman that Leach lured her into oral sex in 1991, when she was 17 and he was a lawyer representing her mother in a criminal case — a claim Leach has vigorously denied. The Inquirer has also reported that eight women and three men claimed that Leach inappropriately touched female campaign staffers or subjected them to sexualized conversations.
Leach has said that he has not yet seen a copy of the report prepared by law firm Eckert Seamans. (The report has not been released to the public.) He said he did see a PowerPoint presentation about the report and believes it “absolved me of false charges made against me" — a notion the caucus disputed.
Serving in the Senate since 2009, Leach faces reelection next year. The senator said Friday that he plans to run again.
“Why would I listen to them instead of my constituents?” Leach said of the party leaders. “They feel I’m being beaten up. They know I’m exonerated.”
His district includes parts of Montgomery and Delaware counties. The county Democratic committees in both areas have called on Leach to step down.
One woman, activist Sara Atkins, has announced plans to challenge Leach in the 2020 Democratic primary. Atkins issued a statement through her campaign Thursday evening saying that she believed the women who said they have been harassed.
She said that she was disappointed that Costa was “leaving it to Leach to resign on his own.”