Today, state Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) announced he is stepping down from his role as Minority Chair of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate due to “avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
There have been increased calls from fellow Democratic lawmakers, including Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, for Leach to resign amid a recent sexual assault allegation against him from 1991 while he was an attorney. His accuser, Cara Taylor, said she was 17 and her mother was a legal client of Leach’s when he coerced her to perform oral sex. Leach has denied these claims and fired back by filing a defamation lawsuit against Taylor and two others.
Leach announced in his statement that he is currently working to “clear his name against completely false assertions about events 28 years ago.”
“I have always believed that as elected officials we should always avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Leach said in a statement. “Given that the Judiciary Committee will potentially be taking up legislation that could theoretically be relevant to the battle I am fighting, I thought it was best that I allow the debates on such issues to play out without the distraction of such an appearance.”
Gwen Snyder, one of the three Leach filed a defamation suit against last week, likened the move by the senator to step down as the committee as a spin through a tweet.
“Hearing Daylin try and spin getting kicked off judiciary as some noble temporary self-recusal is like listening to a rejected kidney transplant tell you how it’s just stepping away from the abdominal cavity for a quick smoke break,” Snyder posted in a tweet.
Leach says he will be moving over to a different committee where legislation will less likely “have the appearance of a conflict.”
According to the PLSReporter, Leach said his “guess” is he could be switching to the Health committee.