Pa. senator sues newspaper, reporter, says they ‘colluded’ with accuser
A Pennsylvania state senator has sued a newspaper and one of its reporters, saying they were “colluding” with an accuser lodging sexualmisconduct claims against him.
Cara Taylor alleges that state Sen. Daylin Leach coerced her to perform oral sex on him in 1991 when she was 17 and he was a 30-year-old lawyer defending her mother in a criminal case — allegations that he denies.
The Montgomery County Democrat is now suing The Philadelphia Inquirer and reporter Angela Couloumbis, leveling one count of defamation and accusing them of “colluding” with Taylor to circulate a private criminal complaint to dozens of lawmakers’ offices in the Capitol, detailing her claims of sexual misconduct, The Legal Intelligencer reports.
According to the report, Leach says that despite inconsistencies and “impossibilities” in Taylor’s claims, Couloumbis “pressed” her to present them to a governmental authority, and when they became public through an inquiry by Senate Democrats, The Inquirer reported on the allegations.
The suit states, “The purpose of the collaboration between Taylor and Couloumbis was undeniably to stage a governmental forum the defendants could exploit in order to publish false accusations against Senator Leach,” according to The Legal Intelligencer.
The Inquirer reports Couloumbis, a veteran state Capitol reporter, said of the lawsuit, “The allegations are untrue,” and Gabriel Escobar, editor and vice president of The Inquirer, said in a statement, “We completely stand by our reporting and will not comment any further on this pending litigation.”
In 2017, The Inquirer reported on other allegations from women on Leach’s legislative staff and campaigns who accused him of inappropriate touching and sexualized jokes.
But Senate Democrats released a report Sept. 19 concluding there was no evidence Leach sexually harassed anyone as a senator, nor did he create a hostile work environment. It noted, however, that some of his humor was “unquestionably sexual in nature.”
The report did not draw any conclusions about Taylor’s allegations, saying they were nearly three decades old and should be the subject of a court proceeding.
They did, however, note some inconsistencies in the timeline of events and past statements she made about the allegation.
“They are preposterous,” Leach previously said. “I have never even so much as shaken hands with Cara Taylor.”