In the end, it wasn’t a tickle fight that led staffers for former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) to take their concerns about the congressman’s conduct to House leadership. Rather, it was an incident in which Massa tried to pick up a young bartender at the wake of a 19-year-old Marine who was killed in Afghanistan, according to an epic Washington Post investigation.
The story of Massa and the allegations of sexual misconduct against male staffers has largely gone away since he resigned from Congress just over a month ago.
The Post story reports that Massa’s alleged misconduct began in March 2009, just a few months after he was elected to Congress. The paper sums up the allegations: “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.”
After the incident at the soldier’s wake in February in Hornel, New York, Massa Chief of Staff Joe Racalto decided — unsatisfied by his boss’s explanation that Massa was trying to help the bartender get into law school — that the persistent problems needed to be brought to the attention of the House leadership.
Massa’s deputy chief of staff reportedly told Hoyer about the problems the week of February 8, setting off the string of events that led to Massa’s resignation.