Pennsylvania politician Daylin Leach, a state senator, claims the Philadelphia Inquirer libeled him with a story alleging he sexually assaulted a woman in 1991.
The Inquirer’s Angela Couloumbis reported on a woman who said he sexually assaulted her in 1991, which Leach denies. Leach claims the reporter “conspired” with his accuser.
In its own story about the lawsuit, the Inquirer reported, “Last month, an investigation of Leach commissioned by Senate Democrats concluded that Leach engaged in workplace humor that was at times “unquestionably sexual in nature” but that his conduct fell short of violating federal discrimination law.”
iMediaEthics has written to the Inquirer, Couloumbis, and Leach’s lawyer.
The Inquirer’s editor Gabriel Escobar told iMediaEthics, “The allegations are untrue. We completely stand behind our reporter and her reporting.” Couloumbis told iMediaEthics, “I’ve been a reporter for 25 years, and I’ve conducted myself ethically and with integrity throughout. The allegations in this lawsuit are untrue.”
Legal Intelligencer published a copy of the lawsuit alleging that Couloumbis and the Inquirer investigated his accuser’s claims and says “some … merely strained credulity, others were just plain false.” Leach’s lawsuit further alleges Couloumbis “conspired with [accuser Cara] Taylor to stage the circumstances upon which Taylor’s false claims against Leach could otherwise be reported.”
The lawsuit continues,
“Clouded by the desire to drive Senator Leach from office by any means necessary, Couloumbis and the Inquirer exploited the trust of their readers by staging the release of knowingly false and defamatory stories under the guide of a ‘fair report’ and have gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal their own involvement therein violation of the central tenants of ethical journalism. It is past time that the Inquirer and Couloumbis are finally held to the standards of their own profession and that their staged smear campaign against Senator Leach comes to an end.”