Ex-Staffers Accuse Leach of Inappropriate Touching, Sexual Talk
According to the Inquirer, multiple women and men have described Leach of using “highly sexualized jokes and comments” and touching women in a way they deemed inappropriate.
“Politics is, sadly, an ugly business. I will go back to doing what I’ve always done, being a fierce fighter for women’s rights and trying to protect my family from the unfortunate consequences of the profession I’ve chosen,” Leach wrote the the Inquirer.
From the Inquirer:
After being alerted to concerns regarding Leach’s behavior, the Inquirer and Daily News interviewed nearly two dozen people about the senator’s conduct. Some women described him as a good boss, one who gave them wide latitude to make political and policy decisions in an office where hierarchy and job titles mattered little. They acknowledged he often made sophomoric comments and had a bawdy sense of humor, but said they were not bothered by it.
But eight women and three men recounted instances when Leach either put his hands on women or steered conversations with young, female subordinates into sexual territory, leaving them feeling upset and powerless to stop the behavior.
Aubrey Montgomery, a former finance director for Leach’s first campaign for Senate in 2008, said Leach has consistently supported policies that help women.
“But,” she said, “as great as his legislative record is for women globally, he can be awful to women individually.”
Leach, who is also running for Congress, has been considered to be a strong advocate for women during his time in the state legislature.
One woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with the Inquirer, spoke of Leach “slid his hand down her back and ‘touched my but.’” She then yelled at Leach and was told by campaign staffers that her response was “inappropriate.”
Drew McGinty, one of Leach’s opponents in the Democratic primary next year, has already called for Leach to exit the race.
“I wholeheartedly believe the brave women and men who have come forward with their allegations against Senator Leach. That’s why today, I am calling on State Senator Leach to resign from office and withdraw from the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania’s 7th district. This conduct is reprehensible from anyone, but when your job is to serve the good people of Pennsylvania, it is especially heinous. The 7th district deserves a nominee that will treat all women and men with respect, and it is clear that Senator Leach is unable to do so,” McGinty said in a statement.