Eric Massa, a Democratic Representative, intends to resign from Congress on Monday in light of sexual harassment allegations and leaked media reports. Massa was planning on breaking the news of his resignation through his local New York newspaper, the Corning Leader, after his resignation but media outlets and internet reports published the news first.
Massa is under investigation by the House ethics committee for allegedly sexually harassing a male staff member. Massa issued a statement Friday regarding the allegations Friday which stated: "I own this reality. There is no doubt in my mind that I did in fact, use language in the privacy of my own home and in my inner office that, after 24 years in the Navy, might make a Chief Petty Officer feel uncomfortable. In fact, there is no doubt that this Ethics issue is my fault and mine alone. But in the incredibly toxic atmosphere that is Washington D.C., with the destruction of our elected leaders having become a blood sport, especially in talk radio and on the internet, there is also no doubt that an Ethics investigation would tear my family and my staff apart.”
Massa, was elected in November 2008. Earlier this week Massa claimed that he would not be running for a second term due to a cancer scare stemming from December and initially dismissed harassment reports. Thursday night the Ethics Committee announced Massa was under investigation but did not cite a reason. Joe Racalto, Massa's former deputy chief of staff and legislative director, has been interviewed on two separate occasions by investigators. Massa maintains his resignation has little to do with the allegations and that until Thursday's Ethics Committee internet post, he knew nothing of the pending suit.
The details of the harassment claim are vague though the controversy surrounding the timing of Massa's acknowledgement of the allegations and timing of his retirement is clear.