Former New York Congressman Eric Massa says he groped a staffer but denies it was sexual.
Massa's comments came Tuesday on conservative commentator Glenn Beck's Fox News Channel show. He admitted having what he called "tickle fights" with staffers but denied any move was sexual in nature.
“No, no, no!’ He said when asked by Beck. “I did nothing sexual.’’
The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, first reported that the House ethics panel is investigating allegations Massa groped multiple male staffers in his office. Massa has previously claimed his misconduct was limited to using inappropriate language with staffers.
“Now they are saying I groped a male staffer,’’ he told Beck. “Yeah I did. Not only did I grope him. I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe and then four guys jumped on top of me. It was my 50th birthday. It was kill the old guy. You can take anything out of context.’’
Massa has given different reasons over the past week for quitting his seat, including health worries, a House ethics probe and charges fellow Democrats pushed him out because he opposed their health care bill.
Massa voted against the legislation last year.
Earlier today, the House's No. 2 Democrat dismissed as "absurd" Massa's claims that he was forced out by party leaders because of his opposition to the health care legislation.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters Tuesday that Massa's conspiracy argument was "absolutely untrue."
Massa told Glenn Beck that “I should not have allowed myself to become so familiar with my staff."
Massa's departure reduces the majority House Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs for passage of health care legislation to 216