By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press
"It doesn't make any difference what my intentions were, it's how it's perceived by the individual who receives that action," Massa, D-N.Y., said on conservative commentator Glenn Beck's Fox News Channel show. "I'm telling you I was wrong. I was wrong. ... My behavior was wrong. I should have never allowed myself to be as familiar with my staff as I was."
The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, reported Tuesday that the House ethics panel has been investigating allegations Massa groped multiple male staffers in his office. Massa has previously claimed his misconduct was limited to using inappropriate language with staffers.
Asked directly on Beck's program whether he sexually groped anyone, Massa replied: "No, no, no."
Massa, however, recalled tickling a staffer at a birthday party.
"Now they're saying I groped a male staffer," Massa said. "Yeah, I did. Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn't breathe and four guys jumped on top of me. It was my 50th birthday and it was kill the old guy."
Massa said his actions may have been misinterpreted.
"If somebody on my staff was offended, uncomfortable, thought I was inappropriate, I own that," Massa said. "It's why I resigned."
Massa has given different reasons over the past week for quitting his seat before completing his first term, including health worries, a House ethics probe and charges fellow Democrats pushed him out because he opposed their health care bill. Democrats deny the charge. He took a slightly different tack Tuesday.
"I wasn't forced out," he said. "I forced myself out."
Massa added he did not live up to his own personal code of conduct.
Massa, 50, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1996, defeated Republican Rep. Randy Kuhl in 2008 in a district long dominated by Republicans. He said his cancer returned in December.
Massa, who is married, is a 24-year retired Navy commander who served during the 1991 U.S.-Iraq war and later was special assistant to Gen. Wesley Clark during the conflict in Bosnia. His cancer diagnosis forced him and his family back to the U.S. for treatment. He spent his last year in the Navy as a cancer outreach advocate and later took a professional staff job with the House Armed Services Committee.