Massa Says He Tickled Staffer ‘Until He Couldn’t Breathe’

Posted March 9, 2010 at 4:26pm

Updated: 6:05 p.m.

Ex-Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.), who resigned from the House on Monday night as he battled allegations that he sexually harassed his aides, acknowledged on a Fox News program Tuesday that he touched a male staffer.

“Now they’re saying I groped a male staffer,” Massa told host Glenn Beck. “I did. I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe.”

Massa, who has previously acknowledged making sexually charged statements to a male aide at another staffer’s wedding on New Year’s Eve, later added: “I did nothing sexual. I did things that were wrong.”

He also said, “I should have never allowed myself to be as familiar with my staff as I was.”

When asked whether he expected any new allegations to emerge, Massa said: “People at this point will say anything about me, and that’s fine. I don’t have an ax to grind. I’m not trying to change the world.”

“I’m sure there’s text messages. We bantered back and forth all the time,” Massa added when asked whether phone records or other documents could surface.

Massa, who surprised political observers when he announced Wednesday that he would not run for a second term because of a recurrence of cancer, said on his radio show that he did not know at that time what the ethics committee investigation was about, saying he believed it focused on a fundraising letter that may have violated House rules.

It is not known whether the ethics committee has closed its investigation now that Massa has left the House and is no longer in its jurisdiction. The committee has not announced what the investigation focused on.