Here’s Why I Think PA State Senator Daylin Leach is a Lying Jagoff

Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach is under pressure to resign given multiples allegations of sexual misconduct, including one claim that he coerced a then-17-year-old young woman into performing oral sex. He was 30 at the time.

Cara Taylor alleges 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 denies 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.”

His own staff claim he’s ‘crossed the line’ in the workplace with physical contact and sexualized talk. Also, shaking hands is not a prerequisite for oral sex.

Leach, a Montgomery County Democrat, is seeking $50,000 and other punitive damages from Taylor and two other women, Colleen Kennedy and Gwen Snyder, who he claims knowingly spread and embellished false allegations. He also pointed to Taylor’s felony perjury conviction, the result of her lying under oath to protect her mother from the attempted homicide charge.

Governor Wolf wants him to resign. Most of the Democrats in office agree. But Leach clings to the shreds of his once luminous political career like his annelid worm namesake, grasping at some delusional belief that SUING Cara Taylor is a good way to handle what he deems false allegations while the PA Senate conducts its own investigation. Click on any of those links for lots of mansplaining by Leach, a once bright start in a sea of cishet white male saviors holding back the forces of oppression in Harrisburg.

Tonight on Twitter, someone made a reference to him and the upcoming Keystone Progress Summit this weekend in Pittsburgh, a summit I plan to event and table. I tweeted that I hoped he would not be attending. And the organization assured me that he would not.

Here’s my deal – I have long thought Leach was a colorful, arrogant jagoff who we needed to coddle to hold down the fort in Harrisburg. Back in 2009, a group of local LGBTQ couples, including Ledcat and me, were invited to the City County Building for a face-to-face with Senator Leach who was preparing to introduce legislation legalizing marriage equality in Pennsylvania.

Every single person in that room, probably about 20 of us, voiced our opposition to his plan. We all wanted to focus on statewide nondiscrimination protections. He clearly wasn’t listening to us. We were there so he could say he met with Pittsburgh LGBTQ folx. His staff were uncomfortable, because he spoke over us – he eventually left early for important Senator business. It was the most classic example of white progressive Democrat cis het splaining you could ask for.

I remember being shocked that this guy who was clearly not gay much less queer was outright dismissing the opinions of seasoned veteran advocates. He didn’t give a damn what we had to say. He had previously led an effort to outflank Republicans by proposing an even more draconian marriage discrimination bill than their version and forcing the hands of moderate Republicans and Democrats who were willing to discriminate against marriage equality a little bit, but not wholesale. He mentioned that in the meeting, like it was something to be proud of and without an ounce of remorse that he was part of an elected body where such a risky gambit was necessary to stop Republicans from amending the PA Constitution over marriage equality. We don’t even know that it was the best option.

He was a winner, our champion even and didn’t we see that?

Most of us dutifully tried to get on board with his plan which went nowhere. Marriage equality is the law of the land in Pennsylvania thanks to the federal court system. In fact, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has never passed a successful piece of pro-LGBTQ legislation creating or solidifying any statewide right for us. Everything has come from the courts or by Executive Action.

I can easily see Leach being an asshat to people with less power than him. I absolutely can see him refusing to open his mind to other points of view or perspectives. And I have little trouble seeing him deluding himself that he knows best and he’s a white hat and why are we not trusting him.

It takes a lot of balls to sue a woman who alleges you raped her when she was 17. Most people in that situation would want to protect their family more than their career. Decent men would step back from their elected office and focus on their legal defense, moving everyone out of the limelight and starting anew – if they truly are innocent. Remaining in office doesn’t help his constituents – there are plenty of perfectly qualified Democrats to step into that role and guide the Commonwealth forward.

If Leach is so persecuted that all of these folx created this conspiracy and harassment for him & his family, why not prioritize your family and resign? Do you want your daughter and son to live with THIS as your legacy – you sued a survivor of sexual assault to defend your reputation? Dear God, sir, you are not a good guy. You aren’t entitled to a political career or ambition. Your daughter is entitled to live in a world where she’s not prey.

This is the statement of the women Leach is suing (there’s more than one) from their spokesperson Marni Jo Snyder. 

“On behalf of these women, I offer the following statement: They have strong voices that they are entitled to use, and I know that there are many people out there who value those voices. I will only say at this time that truth is an absolute defense to the claim and that Mr. Leach’s condemnation of the #MeToo movement as a method for defamation makes me sick. It is not for Mr. Leach to determine the nature or rules of the movement. The myriad of voices in this movement will decide for themselves who is and isn’t a friend and part of the movement and they don’t need him to make those decisions for them. These courageous women and their stories have a spotlight because of national activism and activism of their own. Mr. Leach’s decision to file is an unsuccessful attempt to silence these women and an attack on free speech… and we are sick of it. They will respond further in their pleadings.”

I think this statement hits some notes I felt back in 2009. So here’s hoping Democrats can rid us of this distraction and the investigation brings some justice to the survivors, all of them. And good luck to his kids.

But as a woman and survivor of sexual violence with NONE of my assailants being brought to any justice, I do not want to go to a progressive space that allows perps to walk around while they are under investigation. And I think you and I all deserve to know that conferences are safe spaces. Obviously this is not a human being whom we can trust to exercise good judgment in these matters. So kudos to Keystone Progress for responding.

The best thing we can do is to continue to sweep out the duds and bring fresh new diverse voices to Harrisburg, voices that recognize that they serve the people – not their own egos.