Ohio justice reveals sexual history in controversial Facebook post
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) - Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill shared on his public Facebook page that he's been sexually intimate with "50 very attractive females" following sexual misconduct allegations against Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.
O'Neill, who said he's running for governor, shared in his post on behalf of all "heterosexual males" that he has had intimate relations with several women over the past five decades.
After O'Neill shared parts of his relationship history, he said, "Now can we get back to discussing legalizing marijuana and opening the state hospital network to combat the opioid crisis. I am sooooo disappointed by this national feeding frenzy about sexual indiscretions decades ago."
The Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Maureen O'Connor, issued a statement Friday saying "I condemn in no uncertain terms Justice O'Neill's Facebook post. No words can convey my shock. This gross disrespect for women shakes the public's confidence in the integrity of the judiciary."
Gubernatorial candidate Betty Sutton said she strongly condemned O'Neill's remarks.
"I thought it was appalling to trivialize sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace," Sutton said. "It's just not acceptable from a Supreme Court justice or anyone."
The chair of the Ohio Democratic Party quickly condemned the comments from Justice O'Neill, saying they do nothing but trivialize the important conversation.
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor called the Ohio justice's comments, "ill-timed and dismissive at best."
"They should be held to a higher standard," Taylor said. "It's wrong to begin with and it's especially wrong when people who we count on every day to go to Columbus to do the people's work are unfortunately focused on other things."
Sutton made sexual harassment part of her platform for running for governor. She's proposed creating a state office to take reports of sexual harassment and assault. Her plan would also require screening for state employees to see if they have a history of harassment.
"We have to have a zero tolerance for this," Sutton said. "We have to make that clear. When we do make that clear, then things will change."
O'Neill deleted the post several hours later.
"My daughters have taken exception I fully understand that and I fully understand the anguish of victims, I get that," O'Neill told our sister station in Cleveland. "But I am saying that we now have in America a new standard being driven by the media that if you are not absolutely pure you’re not eligible to run for office in America and that’s wrong."
A campaign staffer announced on Twitter he was quitting O'Neill's campaign. O'Neill said he didn't regret the post.
"Sometimes you just have to stand up and say what’s on your mind," he said. "I’m an elected official, I’m a candidate for governor and people listen to me, I had something to say, I said it."
O'Neill made another post on Facebook Friday evening saying, "As a 15 year jurist, I like to think I speak with clarity. So let me try again. When a United States Senator commits a non criminal act of indiscretion; and when it is brought to his attention he immediately has the integrity to apologize; and the apology is accepted by the victim: IT IS WRONG for the dogs of war to leap onto his back and demand his resignation from the United States Senate. It is morally wrong.
And as an aside for all you sanctimonious judges who are demanding my resignation, hear this. I was a civil right lawyer actively prosecuting sexual harassment cases on behalf of the Attorney General's Office before Anita Hill and before you were born.
Lighten up folks. This is how Democrats remain in the minority."