New details emerge: How Massa tried to, er, "snorkel" his Navy shipmates

Normally I’d say “shocking new details,” but c’mon.

Does climbing into a guy’s bunk and tickling his junk while he fends you off count as a “tickle-fight”?

According to Peter Clarke, a Navy shipmate, Massa was notorious for making unwanted advances toward subordinates. He tells the story of his friend Stuart Borsch, with whom Massa shared a hotel room while on leave during the first Gulf War. “Stuart’s at the edge of the bed,” Clarke says Borsch told him at the time, “and [Massa] starts massaging him. Massa said, ‘You’ll have to get one of my special massages.’ He called them ‘Massa Massages.'” Ron Moss, a Navy shipmate and Borsch’s roommate, confirmed that Borsch told him this story at the time.

Borsch, now a history professor at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, didn’t addresss that specific incident, but did confirm to me in an email that he was groped by Massa: “In 1990, aboard the U.S.S. Jouett, I was awakened when a senior officer, Lt. Commander Massa, seemed to be groping me. (I was a lieutenant at the time.) I believe he may have been drinking. I shouted at him and he left. I mentioned the incident to several other officers. I did not officially report it.”

Clarke says that Massa’s roommate, Tom Maxfield was also assaulted. “Tom lived on upper bunk,” Clarke say. “When you’re on ship, you’re almost exhausted 24-7. So a lot of times you sleep with your uniform on. Tom and Massa shared a stateroom together. Massa climbed up on the top of his bunk, which is hard to do–you never crawl up on somebody else’s bunk. He wakes up to Massa undoing his pants trying to snorkel him.” Ron Moss also confirmed hearing this story from Maxfield. Maxfield did [not] return calls and messages left for him–I’ll update if he does.

Why waste a post on this when, thanks to yesterday’s fiasco, this guy’s credibility is already destroyed? Three reasons. One: The snorkeling euphemism deserves a link, damn it. Two: I linked that Bob Lonsberry piece reciting the allegations against Massa during his naval career several times and figured you guys might want to compare and contrast. Lonsberry’s account is strikingly similar to what the Atlantic heard — except that the Atlantic notably now has people willing to go on the record. And three: To no one’s surprise, because of Massa’s resignation, the less-than-worthless House ethics committee has ended its investigation into his alleged misconduct. Barring a sexual harassment lawsuit by one of his victims, the only justice this guy’s going to get is from reporters. The Atlantic is the beginning but probably not the end.