Wolf: Leach should resign following harassment claims

Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach

Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has called for the resignation of Montgomery County state Sen. Daylin Leach following allegations Leach touched and spoke to women inappropriately.

A report in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News says several women described inappropriate touching and sexually suggestive jokes and comments by Leach. None accused him of sexual assault.

“This disturbing behavior is absolutely unacceptable,” Wolf said in a statement released late Sunday. “Senator Leach should resign. While he has been a leader on important policy issues, this conduct cannot be excused.”

Leach, who has served in the State Senate since 2008, is known as a leading progressive and advocate for women’s rights.

He is also a candidate for Congress next year in the 7th Congressional District, which includes parts of Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Berks and Lancaster counties. The seat is now held by Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan.

David Landau, chairman of the Delaware County Democratic Committee said in a statement that Leach should suspend his campaign, and that the State Senate should launch “an outside, independent investigation” of the allegations.

Neither Leach nor his campaign manager responded to requests for comment from WHYY.

Leach said in a response to the newspapers he at times engages in bawdy humor and sometimes touches people when he talks, but never in sexual or inappropriate ways.

He blamed the story on a “whisper campaign” launched by an unnamed opponent which caught the attention of the media.

State Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D – Allegheny) said in a statement the Senate will review its policy for handling workplace and sexual harassment claims.

“We’re seeking more information about these specific claims and will take the appropriate next steps,” Costa said.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

50% of WHYY’s funding comes from donations made by people just like you.