Harrisburg, PA —  Pennsylvania Democratic leaders have hired outside counsel to investigate sexual misconduct charges against State Senator Daylin Leach —  who represents Lower Merion and Narberth and other areas of Montgomery County.

The investigation centers on sexual misconduct charges leveled by Cara Taylor, who alleged she was sexually assaulted by Leach in 1991 when she was 17.    

The Senate Democratic leaders hired outside counsel to investigate Taylor’s allegations just days after the accuser delivered a private criminal complaint to dozens of lawmakers’ offices in the Capitol.

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Cara Taylor, a Lehigh County resident, alleged Leach coerced her to perform oral sex in 1991 when she was 17 and he was a 30-year-old attorney defending her mother in a criminal case.

Leach denied all of Taylor’s allegations. The Montgomery County Democrat hasn’t faced any criminal charges or disciplinary action.

“They are preposterous,” Leach said Thursday. “I have never even so much as shaken hands with Cara Taylor.”

Accusations of inappropriate behavior have dogged Leach for the past year. He was the subject of a December 2017 Philadelphia Inquirer article citing campaign and legislative staffers who said he crossed the line with unwanted physical contact and sex talk.

After the accusations emerged, Gov. Tom Wolf and others called on Leach to resign. While he didn’t step down from the Senate, in February he abandoned a run for Congress.

“I’ve asked outside legal counsel to review the matter and provide me with a report as it relates to what’s been alleged in [Taylor’s] complaint,” Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, of Allegheny County, said Thursday. “That’s our next step.”

Leach said he welcomed the scrutiny. “I have been begging for some sort of due process for a year and a half now,” he said. “I’m going to get that due process.”

Leach said he hired attorneys who plan to file a defamation lawsuit on Monday in order to fully air the allegations and prove them to be false. The lawmaker said there’s been a concerted effort to harass and intimidate himself, his family and his staff over the last 13 months.

“They’re never going to stop,” he said, of the individuals who call his offices, attend his events and post online videos of their protests.

He declined to say who, specifically, he plans to sue.

“I know for a fact inaccurate or misleading information was published by various outlets,” he said. “The question is what I feel is severe enough to bring into litigation.”

Leach has also released a statement on social media, where he claimed the bulk of the attacks against him were fomented.

In a post he titled, “Why I am Suing” he detailed his plans to fight the accusations against him.

“In politics, one is often attacked, sometimes in highly personal, dishonest and misleading ways. However, recently I became a target in a way that is beyond what a public official would normally expect, and most human beings could endure. As a result, people I’ve never met feel free to call me names on social media, and spread all kinds of rumors, no matter how bizarre, improbable or impossible they are.”

In this statement, Leach said that in the next couple of days he will file a lawsuit for defamation in Philadelphia County against some of the leaders of a group that is trying to defame him both online and at public events.  

“Everyone involved, including myself, will testify under oath and the truth will be revealed,” the statement said.

Leach, unfortunately, was thrust into even more social media spotlight when a tweet he made as a reply to State Senator Maria Collett on January 7 went viral.

Collett had tweeted about how excited she was to be serving on the Senate Committee on Aging and Youth. Leach replied: “Well I’m very old. But I look very young. So you’ll be serving me in everything you do.”

This is an ongoing news story and TAPinto will update you when it learns more details. Want to stay informed on what's happening in your town? Have Lower Merion & Narberth news delivered directly to your inbox click e-News.

 

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