Daylin Leach, Penn State Senator, sues #MeToo accuser for libel

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Daylin Leach
Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach in 2013. Photo: Widener University Delaware Law School (CC2.0).

Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach is facing renewed calls for his resignation after his decision to seek damages against a woman accusing him of sexual wrongdoing.

The woman, Cara Taylor, alleges that Leach coerced her into performing oral sex on him when she was 17 years old in 1991. At the time, Leach was an attorney defending Taylor’s mother for attempted murder.

Daylin Leach under fire

Senator Leach, a Democrat from Montgomery County, first faced public #MeToo allegations in December 2017. A Philadelphia Inquirer investigation made contact with eight women who accused him of inappropriate touching.

Leach, a state legislator since 2003, was then running for Congress. He denied all allegations but eventually withdrew from the Congressional race.

Cara Taylor, who has agreed to be named by the media, saw the 2017 Inquirer story and began discussing her own experience with law enforcement and others. In November 2018 she wrote a private criminal complaint against Leach, but was told her allegations were outside the statute of limitations. She responded by distributing copies of her complaint to over forty state legislators earlier this month.

Fellow Democratic State Senator Katie Muth, herself a survivor of sexual assault, passed on the allegations to Democratic leadership. An outside investigator was hired to assess the claim last week.

“Someone like this doesn’t belong in public service,” Muth told PennLive. “Predatory behavior and abuse of power is a terrible combination. I hope people look at this and redefine what being fit for office means. I want him to be held accountable because if one person gets away with it, it opens the gates for everyone else to.”

Cara Taylor’s allegation

In 1991, Cara Taylor’s mother was on trial for attempted murder. Leach, then 30, was her defense attorney. Taylor was 17.

According to Taylor, Leach brought her to his apartment in Allentown to discuss her mother’s case. She alleges that he then removed his clothes and told her to “help me out.” Taylor says she performed oral sex on him. “I did as I was told,” she said.

Taylor later testified in the trial that she, not her mother, was guilty of attempted homicide. She eventually plead guilty to felony perjury and false swearing. It was during 1999 post-conviction court hearings that she first came forward with the allegations of sexual abuse against Leach, but she later retracted them.

Daylin Leach sues for libel

Leach has called Taylor’s allegations “a salacious and despicable falsehood” and Taylor herself a “notorious perjurer.”

On Monday it was announced that Leach was filing suit against Taylor and two other women seeking $50,000 in damages. According to Leach, the allegations have damaged his ability to serve as a state senator and caused his wife to suffer health issues from the stress.

Since Taylor’s allegations have become public knowledge, and especially since his decision to file suit against her, Leach has faced an avalanche of criticism from prominent officials across the state.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, and Governor Tom Wolf have all called on him to resign.

Fetterman summed up his sentiments in a tweet yesterday, saying, “As the accusations continue to grow, it is appaling that [Daylin Leach] is suing some of the brave women who have stepped up to tell their story. I called for it as a candidate and now as President of the Senate and your Lt. Governor: Sen. Leach needs to resign immediately.”

Leach remains defiant, however.

In a Facebook post this afternoon he took aim not only at Taylor, but at his fellow Democrats calling for him to step down.

“I have been targeted by someone with a long history of bearing false witness, including a conviction and incarceration for perjury in a major felony trial. I have a mountain of additional evidence of my innocence. Governor Wolf and Lt Governor Fetterman have refused repeated requests to hear me out and allow me to present to them this evidence.

“Even more concerning, I was criticized for filing a defamation suit, which is the fair and appropriate remedy our founders and legislative predecessors set up to resolve exactly this type of dispute. Evidently it is wrong to even ask for due process.”

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