Former Rep. Eric Massa’s Sex Harassment Problems Deepen

More than two dozen interviews and internal documents compiled by the Washington Post reveal that former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) was doing far more than "snorkeling" and behaving inappropriately at tickle parties.

Massa House Minority leader John Boehner has asked the ethics committee to investigate how it could be that supervisors did not notify congressional authorities until after more than a year of complaints from staffers.

Massa's chief of staff Joe Racalto claims he himself was a victim of Massa's advances. Racalto also said "he pulled Massa out of a Dupont Circle bar in December when he could not get Massa to stop making inappropriate comments to a 21-year-old intern and another male staffer."

Also: "One gay male staffer said he complained to Racalto in spring 2009 that Massa routinely made sexualized remarks to him. The staffer told Racalto he had grown distressed, because of two incidents he had heard about involving Massa allegedly making unwelcome sexual advances when sharing a hotel room with staffers.

The staffer said that Racalto assured him that Racalto would talk to Massa and put a stop to this kind of conversation. But by summer, according to several sources, Massa's sexual commentary had escalated and some of it was directed at an intern."

Massa also requested to take an intern with him on trips to the West Coast but was blocked by Racalto after staffers begged him. He also solicited sex from a bartender at the funeral of a Marine slain in Afghanistan which became the incident which led to his resignation.

A former aide to Massa has filed a complaint about the former congressman to the Office of Compliance, opening the door to legal action, Politico reports:

"Debra Katz, the attorney for the former aide, says a complaint alleges that Massa, a freshman Democrat from New York, “subjected my client and other young gay men” to “unwelcome touching, sexual propositions, groping, sexualized comments” and similar forms of harassment both inside his official congressional office and outside of it…If the matter is not resolved, a claimant can then file a civil suit in federal district court – though only monetary damages, not civil or punitive damages, may be recovered, according to the office’s Web site.

It’s not clear when Katz’s client filed his claim, and Katz would not reveal the name of her client. But she did say that Massa aides had little recourse to combat what they viewed as inappropriate behavior by their boss. "


  1. JC says

    He “solicited sex from a bartender at the funeral of a Marine slain in Afghanistan”? Since when did military funerals have an open bar???

  2. DAS says

    So I was bored and sorta just stalked Joe Racalto’s facebook page. He’s definitely a fan of Kathy Griffin and several various gay organizations. Draw your own conclusions… I wonder how Massa came to be surrounded by what sounds to be a disproportionately large number of gay staffers in the first place…

  3. BobN says

    Powerful man hits on others.


    If this level of scrutiny were applied to the entire Congress, the place would be pretty empty.

  4. Bryan Harrison says

    He’s a pathetic mess, he behaved badly, his career is over… blah blah blah.

    I’m six months older than Massa. Sometimes I play “what if?” What if the public library in my town hadn’t had “Tales of the City? What if I hadn’t fallen in love with a Midshipman at the Naval Academy? What if my parents had loved me less? What if I’d been offered a great job that just sort of required keeping my mouth shut?

    Does anyone else look at the guy I think “There but for the grace of Armistead Maupin go I?”

  5. jack says

    i propositioned a fair number of straight me, sometimes inappropriately, but i didn’t do it while hiding in a closet, so i didn’t do that much damage to myself or others.

    IT IS THE CLOSET THAT IS THE ENEMY, not massa. the crushing pressure of trying not to live one’s authentic self, fueled by alcohol in many cases, becomes unbearable in time. this scenario in one form or another is being played out daily, and as often noted, quite often by those most outspoken on gay immorality. perhaps their flameouts will cast sufficient light to illuminate the cobwebs in the monds of the public.