News & Politics

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Says He Was 'Sexually Intimate' with 50 Women

Photo Credit: George Nemeth from Cleveland, Ohio, USA

On Friday, a Democrat candidate in the Ohio governor’s race made a tremendous splash by coming clean about his sexual history on Facebook, making light of the barrage of sexual assault allegations that have dominated American media in the last few weeks. He even inadvertently said he had slept with a U.S. senator! One of his staff members has already resigned.

“Now that the dogs of war are calling for the head of Senator Al Franken I believe it is time to speak up on behalf of all heterosexual males,” Bill O’Neill, a justice for the Ohio Supreme Court and past nominee for Ohio’s 14th congressional district in 2008 and 2010, said in a Facebook post.

“As a candidate for Governor let me save my opponents some research time,” O’Neill added. He then embarked on a bragging “tell-all” that revealed more about his pride than his morals.

“In the last fifty years I was sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females,” the gubernatorial candidate boasted. “It ranged from a gorgeous blonde who was my first true love and we made passionate love in the hayloft of her parents [sic] barn and ended with a drop dead gorgeous red head from Cleveland.”

O’Neill insisted that the sexual assault issue is far less important than issues of governance. “Now can we get back to discussing legalizing marijuana and opening the state hospital network to combat the opiod [sic] crisis,” the candidate said. “I am sooooo disappointed by this national feeding frenzy about sexual indiscretions decades ago.”

Revealing the contempt he has for the issue and his nonchalant attitude toward it, the Democrat concluded with a final word, “Peace.”

In his original announcement, the Supreme Court justice nearly identified the very women he was referring to, and one wrong word suggested that he had actually slept with a U.S. senator! Here is the original text:

It ranged from a gorgeous personal secretary to Senator Bob Taft (Senior) who was my first love and we made passionate love in the hayloft of her parents barn in Gallipolis and ended with a drop dead gorgeous redhead who was a senior advisor to Peter Lewis as Progressive Insurance in Cleveland.

While it is clear O’Neill was referring to “a gorgeous personal secretary” who worked for Senator Taft, the language reads like he is listing Taft along with the secretary, which led Slate to report O’Neill’s “inadvertent” claim he slept with Senator Taft.

While O’Neill corrected the post to remove the mention of Taft, his original post was preserved for all eternity by a screenshot.

After O’Neill’s post received attention, the chief justice of Ohio’s Supreme Court, Maureen O’Connor, spoke out against his message.

“I condemn in no uncertain terms Justice O’Neill’s Facebook post,” O’Connor declared. “No words can convey my shock. This gross disrespect for women shakes the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.”

Dave Yost, Ohio’s state auditor, published a Twitter poll asking followers when O’Neill will resign from the Ohio Supreme Court.

Chris Clevenger, a staffer on O’Neill’s campaign, reported that he would be resigning his post.

“The comments made today by [Bill O’Neill] were both disturbing and misguided. As a victim of sexual assault, I cannot in good faith remain a part of Team O’Neill,” Clevenger announced on Twitter. “Moments ago I was able to contact Justice O’Neill to announce my resignation from the campaign. I have been out of pocket all day, and had no prior knowledge of his statement.”

O’Neill entered the governor’s race at the tail end of October, announcing a broad liberal platform: marijuana legalization, mental health expansion, raising the minimum wage, and introducing solar panels on all government buildings. In addition to serving on the Supreme Court, he also served in the U.S. Army, earning a Bronze Star in Vietnam and retiring in 2001 as a lieutenant colonel.

The Supreme Court justice may have entered the race with a splash, and he has certainly gotten a great deal of attention for these comments. But this notoriety may be more likely to hurt him than to help him, especially in the Democratic primary.