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Accused state senator to 'step back' from congressional bid

Written by The Associated Press | Dec 18, 2017 11:37 AM
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Photo by AP Photo/Marc Levy

Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, gets a hug in the Pennsylvania Capitol from a supporter of medical marijuana legislation after the state House of Representatives voted to send the bill to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Harrisburg, Pa. Leach was an original and vocal supporter of the legislation.

(Philadelphia) -- A state senator who is the subject of allegations that he behaved inappropriately toward female employees and campaign aides says he'll "step back" from his campaign for a U.S. House seat.

Democratic state Sen. Daylin Leach said in a Monday statement that he'll work to address the allegations with state Senate leaders. Leach didn't immediately clarify whether or not he's ending his U.S. House campaign in Philadelphia's suburbs.

The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted former party, campaign and legislative aides, some anonymously, who accused the 56-year-old of behavior ranging from making sexualized jokes and comments to touching they considered inappropriate. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf called for Leach to resign, but Leach says he'll continue to serve in the Senate.

Leach says it's heartbreaking to him that he's put someone in a position "that made them feel uncomfortable or disrespected."


An earlier story appears below.

(Philadelphia) -- A state senator who is the subject of allegations published by The Philadelphia Inquirer that he behaved inappropriately toward female employees and campaign aides hopes to continue serving in office, his lawyer said.

Democratic Senator Daylin Leach also plans to continue his campaign for a Republican-held congressional seat in Philadelphia's closely divided suburbs, his lawyer, George Bochetto, said in a statement late Sunday night.

Within hours of the Inquirer publishing the story Sunday, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf called for Leach to resign.

Leach, a lawyer and a state lawmaker since 2003, is running in the Democratic primary to challenge fourth-term Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan. Leach has been among the Legislature's most prominent liberals, leading the fight for the legalization of same-sex marriage and medical marijuana. He also ran unsuccessfully for another congressional seat in 2014.

In the story, the Inquirer quoted former party, campaign and legislative aides, some anonymously, who accused the 56-year-old of behavior ranging from making sexualized jokes and comments to touching they considered inappropriate.

Aubrey Montgomery, a finance director for Leach's 2008 state senate campaign, told the newspaper that Leach labeled her a prude and ratcheted up the intensity after she complained to him about a sexualized tone in the office.

In a statement on Facebook, Matt Goldfine, a 2008 campaign aide, said he could confirm Montgomery's account. He also cited Leach's routine tickling and hugging of female interns.

"This did not happen once; there was a pattern of behavior that I believe was totally inappropriate," Goldfine wrote.

In a statement , Leach blamed the accusations on a whisper campaign mounted by an unnamed political opponent and denied he's ever inappropriately touched women. He also said Montgomery was "as racy as anyone else" in the office, and this week was the first time he had ever heard that she had a problem.

Montgomery has worked for a man running against Leach in the next year's Democratic primary, Dan Muroff.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Philadelphia) -- A state senator who is the subject of allegations published by The Philadelphia Inquirer that he behaved inappropriately toward female employees and campaign aides hopes to continue serving in office.

Sen. Daylin Leach's lawyer also said late Sunday night that Leach, a Democrat, wants to continue his campaign for a Republican-held congressional seat in Philadelphia's suburbs.

The Inquirer quoted former party, campaign and legislative aides, some anonymously, who accused the 56-year-old of behavior ranging from making sexualized jokes and comments to touching they considered inappropriate.

Democratic Governor Tom Wolf called for Leach to resign within hours of the Inquirer publishing the story Sunday.

In a statement, Leach blames the accusations on an unnamed political opponent and denies he's ever inappropriately touched women.

Leach has been a state lawmaker since 2003.

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