elected officials

Ex-Rep. Eric Massa Talked About Sleeping With Dudes To His Male Aides, And Other Tales

Active snorkeler and tickling enthusiast Eric Massa, the disgraced now-former Democratic congressman from New York, was having his HR file filled with complaints by male staffers just three months into his tenure. About how he was groping them sexually and found excuses to take overnight trips with them.

Well, it wasn’t so much his HR file; but younger male aids were complaining to their supervisors, relays WaPo.

This account, drawn from more than two dozen interviews and internal documents, shows that aides were accusing the 50-year-old married lawmaker of far more egregious behavior than previously known. Beginning in March 2009 and over the next several months, male staffers complained that their boss had touched them in a sexual manner, came up with reasons to have staffers travel alone with him on overnight trips, and expressed a desire to have sex with the men in the office. But it wasn’t until after a year of staff complaints — when allegations about Massa’s behavior threatened to become a public embarrassment — that supervisors alerted congressional leaders to the problem. That led House leadership to demand the matter be referred to the ethics committee. Massa resigned a few weeks later when the media reported he was the subject of a harassment probe. He declined to comment for this story.

On Tuesday, in response to an earlier version of this article, House Minority Leader John Boehner called on the ethics committee to delve deeply into how such allegations could continue for a year with no relief for staff. “It is now readily apparent that Congressman Massa’s pattern of troubling behavior continued long after Democrats first became aware of his conduct,” Boehner said. “Speaker Pelosi’s staff has acknowledged they knew about problems in Mr. Massa’s office back in the fall of 2009. What action, if any, did the Speaker and the Democratic leadership take to protect Rep. Massa’s subordinates from harassment and abuse?”

My goodness. It’s sounding more and more like Larry Craig’s lilttle fiasco.

In one instance, a staffer said he alerted Joe Racalto, Massa’s chief of staff, in March 2009 that Massa tried to fondle a young colleague in a hotel room during the 2008 campaign. Racalto told staffers he believed their complaints, because he had heard similar stories, according to staffers. Two sources said that Racalto told staffers he himself had been a victim of Massa’s advances.

In a statement through his lawyer, Racalto declined to answer questions about whether he was harassed by Massa, or had filed a harassment complaint against the lawmaker. He did answer several other questions in comments relayed by his lawyer. He disputed claims that he mishandled the situation but said he had difficulty controlling his boss and lacked a manual to guide him. He said he confronted Massa about allegations of improper advances, but the lawmaker denied doing anything improper.

Racalto said he tried in fall 2009 to block the lawmaker from being alone with young male staffers, including demanding that he move out of a townhouse Massa shared with staff. He confirmed that he pulled Massa out of a Dupont Circle bar in December when he could not get Massa to stop making inappropriate comments to a 21-year-old intern and another male staffer.

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  • Kieran

    More proof, if any were needed, that gay men shouldn’t be priests OR politicians.

  • rf

    Exactly, John Ensign…

  • scott ny'er

    @Kieran: I don’t agree. This is more proof that a-holes shouldn’t be priests, politicians, bosses, etc. Many, many people, hetero or homo, do not inappropriately touch or make lewd comments to their coworkers. A-holes like this dude, have major problems and get away with it. Thankfully, this time, this dude didn’t. Sadly, he was a democrat. I’d much prefer it it was a republican.

  • Cam

    No. 1 · Kieran
    More proof, if any were needed, that gay men shouldn’t be priests OR politicians.

    Really Kieren? So then would Senator Bob Packwoods Harrassment of female staffers mmean that hetrosexuals shouldn’t be politicians or religeous leaders?, or Ted Kenedy’s drunken auto death of the female staffer, or Bill Clinton’s issues with Monica Lewinsky, or WEll heck, why don’t we just list them out…

    Edison Misla Aldarondo, Republican legislator from Puerto Rico, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for molestation of his daughter and her friend for eight-year period starting when they were 9.

    Dan Crane, Republican Congressman from Illinois, married, father of six. Had sex with a 17 year old female congressional page.

    Nicholas Elizondo, Republican director of the “Young Republican Federation” molested his 6-year old daughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.

    Is this enough? Because there are a WHOLE lot more out there.

    Dick Armey (R-Texas), former professor, has been accused by The Dallas Observer of sexually harassing female students.

    Jim Bakker, televangelist with Pat Robertson at Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting network. Committed adultery with Jessica Hahn and then used charitable donations to pay her hush money

  • slobone

    You know — these guys seem awfully lazy to me. Harassing staffers, hanging out in bathrooms, hiring hustlers, sending naughty IM’s to interns — is that really the only way they can get laid? Why can’t they go on Craigslist [sic] like everybody else?

  • Beatrix Davis

    Just finding this. Whoever wrote this is not a fan of the facts. The facts are that Joe Ricalto is a pathological liar who perpetrated the story. Eric isn’t, never was, and never will be gay. Ask any staffer who was not payed off by Ricalto if these allegations against Eric were true and you will find a much different story. We’re onto you Joe. The US House of Representatives Office of Employment Counsel will corroborate.

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