Did Representative Eric Massa Really Tickle His Staffers?

Another day, another high-ranking New York politician embroiled in a scandal. The latest is a House of Representatives dude, Eric Massa. On Monday, he resigned from Congress saying that he had cancer. Turns out, he resigned to avoid an investigation by the House ethics committee. Apparently, three of his staffers complained that Massa had groped them. Others said Massa used lewd language with them, and rumor had it that he’d hit on several young male staffers and interns. When these reports surfaced in the press, Massa claimed he was being set up by the House Democrats because he opposed the health care bill. But on Tuesday, he spoke to Glenn Beck and said he’d resigned for “getting too familiar with my staff.” Then he joked, “Not only did I grope [a staffer], I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe.” Later that night, Massa went on “Larry King Live” to take back the tickling statement and to say that all the charges are untrue. He went back to the story that he resigned for health reasons. Meanwhile, the ethics committee investigation has stopped because Massa technically isn’t in Congress anymore. [Washington Post]

Oh wait, but it gets weirder. Now that the story’s out there, new details are surfacing all over the place about Massa. Supposedly, several young male staffers actually live in Massa’s house, which is littered with the guys’ stuff, like a grimy frat house. [NY Daily News]

Also a few years ago, after a failed run for office, Massa apparently accused his campaign manager of making a pass at his teenage son. His campaign manager sued for libel, at which point Massa took back the comments. [The Atlantic]

Massa’s strange behavior apparently goes back to his days in the Navy, where his shipmates say he often made them uncomfortable offering “Massa Massages.” One shipmate told The Atlantic a story Massa’s roommate, Tom, had told him. “When you’re on ship, you’re almost exhausted 24-7. So a lot of times you sleep with your uniform on,” this shipmate said. “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.” [The Atlantic]

Which leads to the question—what exactly is snorkeling?