Facing allegations he had harassed a male staffer, Democratic Congressman and self-described "salty old sailor" Eric Massa has announced he will resign. In a statement posted on his website, the first-term southwestern New York representative acknowledged his statements made a member of his staff feel "uncomfortable," and stated: "I own this reality ... I want to make something perfectly clear. My difficulties are of my own making. Period."
When the allegations came to light earlier this week, the married father of two brushed them off and said he would be leaving after his first term due to health concerns related to non-Hodgin's lymphoma. But a day after the House ethics committee said it was "investigating and gathering additional information" about the allegations against Massa, he released the following statement:
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 said he would step down on Monday at 5 pm "with a profound sense of failure and a deep apology to all those whom, for the past year, I tried to represent as our Nation struggles with problems far greater than anyone can possibly imagine."
I am also aware that blogs and radio will have a field day with this in today's destructive and unforgiving political environment. In that investigators would be free to ask anything about me going back to my birth, I simply cannot rise to that level of perfection. God knows that I am a deeply flawed and imperfect person.
During long car rides, in the early hours of the evening, late at night and always in private, I know that my own language failed to meet the standards that I set for all around me and myself. I fell short and I believe now, as I have always believed, that it is not enough to simply talk the talk, but rather I must take action to hold myself accountable.