Eric Massa Story Gets Uglier: "Unwanted Advances" in Navy

Eric Massa
Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y.

The strange story of recently-resigned House Democrat Eric Massa has gone from bad to worse: The Atlantic's Josh Green reports that Massa was "notorious for making unwanted advances toward subordinates" during his 20-year Naval career.

One former shipmate tells Green that Massa offered subordinates "Massa Massages." Another said a drunken Massa, his senior officer, groped him while he was sleeping. Green's piece also includes a story in which Massa's roommate was subject to inappropriate behavior.

"When you're on ship, you're almost exhausted 24-7," Peter Clarke is quoted as saying in the piece. "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."

Massa, who is married and has four children, was never formally accused of inappropriate behavior. Asked by CNN's Larry King Wednesday if he is gay, he declined to answer the question and deemed it offensive. 

Massa told Fox News' Glenn Beck Tuesday that he had groped one of his staffers, though he said it had been non-sexual. He had previously said he told a male aide he should be "frakking" him while at a wedding.

At one point in the Fox interview, Massa pulled out a book showing a Navy "Crossing the Line" ceremony and compared it to an "orgy in Caligula," saying behavior in the Navy in the past would not be considered acceptable today.

Reports surfaced earlier in the day that Massa had been under investigation for allegedly groping multiple male staffersand behaving inappropriately with interns.

He announced his resignation last week after it came to light the House ethics committee was investigating him on sexual harassment charges. Massa has said he had been pushed out by virtue of his opposition to the health care reform bill, a charge the White House and top Democrats deemed absurd.

Massa has cited his battle with cancer as the primary reason he is leaving office.

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