In the same radio monologue in which he admitted telling a male staffer, “what I really ought to be doing is fracking you,” Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) defiantly recounted a misconduct allegation from his past that arose after he walked in on a Navy roommate masturbating.
The incident occurred during Desert Storm when Massa, who served for 24 years in the Navy, was based on a ship in the Persian Gulf. He was assigned to watch duty, Massa said on the radio show Sunday. One day, Massa came back early to the small room he shared with another crew member.
“I arrived back early from that and opened the door and — not to put quite a light on it — but the other gentleman was busy remembering his spouse. And I’ll let your imaginations run wild,” Massa said.
“I walked in and instead of embarrassing him I smacked him on the leg and said, ‘you need any help with that, let me know.’ And I went to bed. And he was so hideously embarrassed, he moved out of the state room, because he couldn’t take it. Ladies and gentleman, we had been at sea for four months.”
“You literally can’t move two people in that room … without getting into each others knickers,” Massa noted, adding that both he and his roommate were both married at the time.
The incident led to an allegation of misconduct against Massa, he said. Here’s the audio of him discussing the incident, and reminiscing about the Navy (this contains two clips that were close together in the radio monologue):
The congressman, who is scheduled to resign at 5 p.m. ET today, raised past misconduct allegation in response to a blog post by a local radio host in New York about rumors concerning Massa’s time in the Navy.
Massa has no apologies for what he calls the “incredible bawdy” character of those years.
He also described a so-called “crossing the line” ceremony he took part in in the early 1980s while on board the U.S.S. New Jersey. When crossing the Equator, it’s Navy tradition that older sailors who have previously crossed the line — called Shellbacks — essentially haze those (Pollywogs) who have not.
“We took the Pollywogs — those who had never crossed the line. They went through chutes full of garbage, many of them naked. They had to stick their faces in the crotches of the holy crew — the guys that come aboard from King Triton,” he said. We had a drag contest. People walking around with things that can only marginally be described as grossly obscene looked at through the lens of 2001. This was the 1980s. Does this go completely against what our norms and ethics are today? Absolutely.”
“I make no bones about it. The United States Navy in 1983 and 1984 was incredible bawdy. Incredible.”
In 2006, Massa fired his campaign manager amid charges that the manager provided alcohol to underage boys. The manager later sued Massa for libel, and the two men settled the case with a joint statement.