HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Daylin Leach said he never envisioned himself as a workplace harasser.
“I always thought I was just a big gregarious guy,” Leach said Tuesday.
The Democratic state senator from Montgomery and Delaware County said he didn’t recognize the person portrayed in a Philadelphia Inquirer report just before Christmas. Several of Leach’s staffers complained of a sexually charged work environment with off-color jokes and even inappropriate touching.
Leach, a progressive Democrat, was startled that the “Me Too” movement was pointing a finger at him, too.
It rocked his sense of self, he said.
“Billy Joel once said he films a video and he imagines he’s Cary Grant, and then he sees the video and he sees Billy Joel and it’s always jarring. I was, frankly, oblivious to certain things. I thought if I was telling jokes and people were laughing, they were on board. I thought it was common for people in politics and human beings to reach out and touch each other, and I thought if no one complained, no one had a problem with it,” Leach said.
Citing numerous complaints by several women, Gov. Tom Wolf called for Leach to resign. So did Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster).
“When you’re in a position of power and someone else is in a position of being a subordinate, there’s a clear line there that ought not to be crossed,” Aument said in December when the allegations surfaced.
Leach said he gets the point.
“Now, I understand power dynamics,” he said. “I never considered myself a powerful person.”
The Senate Democrats received sexual harassment training last week from Midstate attorney Adam Santucci. Leach, to the chagrin of many members, didn’t attend because of prior commitments in Florida. He said he spent an hour and a half in his office Tuesday with Santucci getting a one-on-one training. That, combined with weeks of soul searching, has changed him, Leach says.
“I’m more aware of certain things.”
Leach has suspended his race for the 7th Congressional District in the Philadelphia suburbs. He wouldn’t say with certainty Tuesday that he was in and wouldn’t say with certainty that he’s out.