New report: Massa even creepier than first thought

posted at 12:20 pm on April 13, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

It didn’t take long for freshman Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) to make an impact on Capitol Hill.  Unfortunately for his staffers, Massa concentrated his attentions more on them than on his job.  The Washington Post reports that a new report on Massa’s sexual harassment of his aides was far more serious than either Massa or Democratic leadership first acknowledged, and had gone on longer than admitted:

Just three months after Eric Massa was elected to Congress, his young male employees on Capitol Hill began complaining to supervisors that the lawmaker was making aggressive, sexual overtures toward them, according to new interviews and internal documents.

The senior staff, one of whom said he heard Massa making lewd remarks to young staffers, tried to manage the problem internally. But reports of Massa’s inappropriate behavior continued, leaving junior workers feeling helpless, according to victims, other staffers and sources close to an ongoing House ethics investigation. Most asked not to be named due to the ethics probe and the risk of hurting their job prospects.

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.

It only took until March 2009 for complaints to start getting generated about Massa’s predatory behavior in the office.  That’s when one staffer notified Massa’s chief of staff, Joe Racalto, that he had been molested during the 2008 campaign.  Two sources told the Post that not only did Racalto believe them, but admitted to being victimized by Massa himself.

So why didn’t Racalto report the problem, as the rules dictate?  The Post’s report shows that Racalto intervened on a number of occasions to prevent more harassment, attempting to keep Massa out of trouble.  Unfortunately, Massa escalated his predatory behavior and began focusing on an intern in his office.  But instead of reporting Massa, Racalto allegedly attempted to bully the staff into silence.

This looks at least as creepy as the 2006 scandal surrounding Mark Foley that helped Nancy Pelosi take control of the House in the midterm elections.  The only saving grace here is that the Post article reports that Racalto kept Massa’s activities secret from leadership — which is certainly a conclusion Pelosi would like the Ethics Committee to reach — and that they pushed him into a resignation when finally informed of it.  Of course, the same was true for Foley and the GOP as well, and it didn’t do them any good in the 2006 election.


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Tickle party as the Massa’s house

Doctor Zhivago on April 13, 2010 at 12:22 PM

He’s a Democrat.

’nuff said.

mankai on April 13, 2010 at 12:23 PM

And that, folks, is your Democratic Party!

Abby Adams on April 13, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Creepy wackadoodle

ladyingray on April 13, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Massa even creepier than first thought

Not possible

thomasaur on April 13, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Pelosi is a homophobe!

These were all adults!

mankai on April 13, 2010 at 12:25 PM

I feel like I have to spray myself with Lysol after that intro. Were he and Barney close friends?

kingsjester on April 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM

The only saving grace here is that the Post article reports that Racalto kept Massa’s activities secret from leadership…

So we’re to believe the guy who admittedly broke the rules, didn’t report when required, and bullied a staffer into silence in order to protect Massa – supposed to believe him when he now tries to protect Pelosi?

Everybody who’s buying this raise your hand…

No reason to allow benefit of the doubt here – *none*.

Those bastards crucified the GOP during the Foley incident (and Craig, and…). Screw them.

Midas on April 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM

At least he didn’t have a wide stance.

Cicero43 on April 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM

When I saw the Glenn Beck interview, I figured there were only 2 possibilities: 1) Massa’s just a fun loving guy who gets out of hand from time to time, or 2) he has a pathology and is a sexual predator

As I am not a psychiatrist/psychologist and haven’t interviewed him, I can’t say with certainty that it is the latter. But that’s where I would put my money.

rbj on April 13, 2010 at 12:28 PM

At least he didn’t have a wide stance.

Cicero43 on April 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM

..or tap his foot in the can.

thomasaur on April 13, 2010 at 12:29 PM

How is this guy any creepier than say—–Barney Frank? Is he as corrupt as Barney? I thought not.

BetseyRoss on April 13, 2010 at 12:29 PM

weird

blatantblue on April 13, 2010 at 12:31 PM

He’s just a bad apple among a perfect orchid. Now those Foley and Craig types, they clearly demonstrate a fundamental pathology that runs through all Republicans.

/MSM

Wineaholic on April 13, 2010 at 12:32 PM

But instead of reporting Massa, Racalto allegedly attempted to bully the staff into silence.

So, who’s going after Racalto for this? Isn’t he at least civilly liable? Just because his boss resigned, that shouldn’t get him off the hook for his complicity. When you aid and abet evil, you are equally guilty of it and should face the consequences.

Extrafishy on April 13, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Those bastards crucified the GOP during the Foley incident (and Craig, and…). Screw them.

Midas on April 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Nope, the MSM lead the charge in that mess. The Dems just gave them a couple of decent sound bites and they ran with it.

Johnnyreb on April 13, 2010 at 12:33 PM

There sure are a lot of perverts running around these days.

Knucklehead on April 13, 2010 at 12:33 PM

I’m running the most ethical and honest and most transparent Congress in history!
- Nancy Pelosi

MB4 on April 13, 2010 at 12:34 PM

There are no democrats in congress who are the least bit creepy. None at all. That claim is just propaganda from the Nazi tea baggers. Why none of them are any more creepy than I am.
- Nancy Pelosi

MB4 on April 13, 2010 at 12:37 PM

How did someone that’s obviously living a lie, or have so much difficulty with the truth get elected in the first place? Oh, wait…
I wish that tickle fights were the only thing we had questions about. That whole city is a rabbit hole.

ontherocks on April 13, 2010 at 12:38 PM

But, But, aren’t his staffers progressive liberals?

Shouldn’t they welcome the diversity and stop being so intolerant?

TheSitRep on April 13, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Liars all. Hang ‘em high. (Metaphorically speaking, of course).

GrannyDee on April 13, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Part deux of the Massa scandal will be an October surprise. The republicans are slowly learning how to use a scandal to their best advantage.

meci on April 13, 2010 at 12:42 PM

So why didn’t Racalto report the problem, as the rules dictate?

perhaps because they’re all homosexuals, and stuck together until their overiding self-interest trumped their silence?

max1 on April 13, 2010 at 12:46 PM

The democrats would rather subject young people to verbal assault rather than deal with the problem.

darwin on April 13, 2010 at 12:47 PM

I thought the proponents of homosexuals in the military, Boy Scouts and education have always told us that homosexuals were not predatory, did not attempt to turn or “flip” a straight male. Several years ago, I had a frank discussion with a young homosexual neighbor after he “hit” on me. He told me that ALL men were capable of being “gay”. He said I had just not met the “right man” yet. He said if I ever changed my mind to let him know because for an older man, I was very attractive. I wish young women were more like him.

scullymj on April 13, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Massa grew up as a Navy brat and followed his father into the service. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and then spent two dozen years in the Navy. At the pinnacle of his military career, he was the right-hand man to Gen. Wesley Clark, both in Panama and when Clark was the supreme commander of NATO. Clark, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, was a key supporter of Massa’s in both of his campaigns.

Wonder who may have covered up for him as a navy commander?

fourdeucer on April 13, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Wonder who may have covered up for him as a navy commander?

fourdeucer on April 13, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Don’t ask…

JusDreamin on April 13, 2010 at 12:56 PM

So he’s Barney Frank?

MadisonConservative on April 13, 2010 at 12:57 PM

The average person would tend to hesitate to run for public office to avoid all of the media scrutiny of every little detail of their private life.
And yet we have politicians out there – that really are just that.
Maybe this “public service” racket is a natural draw for weirdos, fruitcakes, nut jobs. It’s more likely one side of the aisle doesn’t undergo any scrutiny.

ontherocks on April 13, 2010 at 12:58 PM

There are plenty of nuts and perverts on both sides of the aisle. Exit question: how do they get elected in the first place? It’s hard to believe that the behaviour that get’s these creeps into trouble in DC was going on for years before they rose to office.

DrW on April 13, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Most asked not to be named due to the ethics probe and the risk of hurting their job prospects.

I’m surprised nobody else took the time to point this little section out.

The risk of hurting their job prospects? Are there that many boy/young male/male-sex crazed people on Capitol Hill that they can’t let it be known that they filed sexual harassment complaints against a Congressman?

MobileVideoEngineer on April 13, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Meh. Common dimocrat/common dimmy behavior. Nothing new here.

n0doz on April 13, 2010 at 1:16 PM

He’s a Democrat and it involves homosexual conduct. There is no story here. Even if he hadn’t resigned. Just ask Barney Frank.

If he was for the healthcare bill he’d probably still be in office.

Jaynie59 on April 13, 2010 at 1:16 PM

So he’s a homo pervert. Quit being intolerant and celebrate the diversity

Let’s hear it for “the Most Ethical Congress Evah”

Kuffar on April 13, 2010 at 1:18 PM

So he’s Barney Frank?

MadisonConservative on April 13, 2010 at 12:57 PM

But without the cute lisp. And that makes all the difference.

Iblis on April 13, 2010 at 1:18 PM

The Washington Post says:

In October, a local New York newspaper article chronicling Massa’s life in Capitol Hill highlighted the lawmaker’s unusual living arrangement.

But the Washington Post won’t actually name that newspaper for you, since that would not only be beneath the dignity of the Washington Post, but it’s awful to admit you were scooped by an out-of-town rag.

Emperor Norton on April 13, 2010 at 1:24 PM

The risk of hurting their job prospects? Are there that many boy/young male/male-sex crazed people on Capitol Hill that they can’t let it be known that they filed sexual harassment complaints against a Congressman?

MobileVideoEngineer on April 13, 2010 at 1:08 PM

I assume it’s just a desire not to be seen as a “problem” not specifically because other jobs are fine with sexual harassment but because some people might not believe them.

Esthier on April 13, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Here is why I wanna call a little BS on this. The Democrats control an overwhelming number of seats on both sides of Capitol Hill and the White House. Jobs for democrat staffers are available in abundance. You don’t even have to be very good at anything to get a job in a Dem office because there are so many open positions. So if this crap was going on and all these staffers and interns were being groped and abused but they didn’t want to come forward in order to avoid embarrassment, why not just quietly go get a job in another office? They could have done it easily, especially if the Chief of Staff knew there was a problem. A recommendation from a CoS goes a long way on the Hill.

I’m not defending Massa or saying none of this stuff happened. It just sounds fishy that these staffers didn’t go get work somewhere else when there are jobs to be had in abundence for dem staffers.

t.ferg on April 13, 2010 at 1:30 PM

How is this more agregious than running a male prostitution ring or marijuana farm from your basement? There is nothing to see here just move on!

chicken thief on April 13, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Of course, the same was true for Foley and the GOP as well, and it didn’t do them any good in the 2006 election.

Not exactly correct. Denny Hastert knew about Foley and ignored the matter until it became public….just as he did with other scandals.

This doesn’t minimize the corruption under Pelosi, but let’s not minimize the corruption under Hastert either. His failures as a leader and as a moral man are part of the reason the country is where it is today. When the right gets back in power (and we will), we must not allow any more Hasterts or Lotts or DeLays in power.

We have to be better than them….not just for the sake of the Party, but for the sake of the country too.

Kasper Hauser on April 13, 2010 at 1:38 PM

I thought Dems were all-in for gay this and gay that. It’s the gay decade! RIGHT? They are just as disgusted as anyone when it’s THEIR ASS.

leftnomore on April 13, 2010 at 1:39 PM

fourdeucer on April 13, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Well, we have heard about his antics on Navy ships and in DC so I am 100% sure we will hear about his days serving under Gen Clark soon. Wouldn’t that have been just after “don’t ask, don’t tell” was implemented so it will be bombshell material against Clinton’s policies.

I wonder how many servicemembers were harassed by Massa in those 24 years? Hundreds? (look at the number of staff he harassed in DC- he didn’t single out 1 person, he was EO) How many asked for early transfers, left the military, or worse?

journeyintothewhirlwind on April 13, 2010 at 1:47 PM

I am a gay conservative who will say their is no excuse for his behavior or for the behavior of Bill Clinton.

SC.Charlie on April 13, 2010 at 1:49 PM

I wonder how many servicemembers were harassed by Massa in those 24 years? Hundreds? (look at the number of staff he harassed in DC- he didn’t single out 1 person, he was EO) How many asked for early transfers, left the military, or worse? -
journeyintothewhirlwind on April 13, 2010 at 1:47 PM

If he did this in the military, he should have been brought on charges, period.

SC.Charlie on April 13, 2010 at 2:00 PM

This doesn’t minimize the corruption under Pelosi, but let’s not minimize the corruption under Hastert either. His failures as a leader and as a moral man are part of the reason the country is where it is today. When the right gets back in power (and we will), we must not allow any more Hasterts or Lotts or DeLays in power.
Kasper Hauser on April 13, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Yep. Hastert et al set the tone for GOP misbehavior which helped lead tovoter rejection. If the pubbies regain power, one hopes that lesson will have been learned.

a capella on April 13, 2010 at 2:06 PM

I am a gay conservative who will say their is no excuse for his behavior or for the behavior of Bill Clinton.

SC.Charlie on April 13, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Exactly! And those I feel most sorry for in this? This mans wife, and children. I just can’t even imagine what they must be going thru. This man’s literally destroying his world, and all those who lived in it.

capejasmine on April 13, 2010 at 2:11 PM

I dunno first thoughts can be pretty creepy.

cartooner on April 13, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Maybe Massa should move to Pelosi’s district….he’d be right at home there.

olesparkie on April 13, 2010 at 2:40 PM

C’mon, it’s just about sex.

Time machine must have taken us back to 1998.

juanito on April 13, 2010 at 2:53 PM

he was the right-hand man to Gen. Wesley Clark

Really?

In the context of this thread, that statement is very funny.

Ampleforth on April 13, 2010 at 3:27 PM

There sure are a lot of perverts running around these days.

Knucklehead on April 13, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Yes, but why are so many of them in elected offices? And wouldn’t it be nice if we had some media who were interested in exposing these perverts and criminals before they get elected?

AZCoyote on April 13, 2010 at 3:30 PM

So why didn’t Racalto report the problem, as the rules dictate?

Because in the liberal world homosexuals are a protected class and behavior like massa’s is just a trait of that protected class. Don’t believe it’s a trait? Ask an alter boy.

peacenprosperity on April 13, 2010 at 3:50 PM

It was a simple misunderstanding. They were asked if they wanted to “work on the Congressman’s staff” and agreed.

malclave on April 13, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Massa was never Clark’s “right hand man”. He was one of four special assistants (one from each service) while Clark was in Panama. The right hand man was the Executive Assistant who went on to become a MGen in the Army. When Clark went to Europe he offered to take his entire front office staff with him. Almost all took him up on it including Massa. In Europe he had a more senior staff and all his Special Assistants were O-6s. Massa became a supporter to those Special Assistants until he was diagnosed with cancer.

SoonerMarine on April 13, 2010 at 4:54 PM

This looks at least as creepy as the 2006 scandal surrounding Mark Foley

At least?!?!

This makes Mark Foley look like the salt of the earth.

tom on April 13, 2010 at 5:04 PM

This looks at least as creepy as the 2006 scandal surrounding Mark Foley

At least?!?!

This makes Mark Foley look like the salt of the earth.

tom on April 13, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Lessee here…

Foley – Republican
Massa – Democrat

Nope, this one’s not nearly as creepy.

Spiny Norman on April 13, 2010 at 6:29 PM