On Eric Massa

I don't know if you guys saw Josh Green's piece yesterday, but if you didn't it's worth checking out:


According to Peter Clarke, a Navy shipmate, Massa was notorious for making unwanted advances toward subordinates. He tells the story of his friend Stuart Borsch, with whom Massa shared a hotel room while on leave during the first Gulf War. "Stuart's at the edge of the bed," Clarke says Borsch told him at the time, "and [Massa] starts massaging him. Massa said, 'You'll have to get one of my special massages.' He called them 'Massa Massages.'" Ron Moss, a Navy shipmate and Borsch's roommate, confirmed that Borsch told him this story at the time.

Borsch, now a history professor at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, didn't addresss that specific incident, but did confirm to me in an email that he was groped by Massa: "In 1990, aboard the U.S.S. Jouett, I was awakened when a senior officer, Lt. Commander Massa, seemed to be groping me. (I was a lieutenant at the time.) I believe he may have been drinking. I shouted at him and he left. I mentioned the incident to several other officers. I did not officially report it."

I'm sure some of you are already sick of this story, and that's fair. I'm linking because I appreciate that Josh has names and not anonymous sources. I'm not against anonymous sourcing on the whole, (witness the Times' reporting on Paterson) I just think a lot of us tend to use it as a crutch.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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