Ohio Supreme Court Justice O'Neill Defends His Facebook Post Disclosing his Lovers

Nov 17, 2017

O'Neill says voters deserve to know about a candidate's background.
Credit TIFFANY O'NEILL SCULLEN

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, the only Democrat holding a state elected office, says he stands by a controversial Facebook post in which he disclosed he’d had more than 50 lovers and revealed some identifying details about them. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports as O’Neill faces condemnation and calls for his resignation.

O’Neill says his point was to get the past out of the way.

“As a candidate for governor I am probably the next victim. I figured I’d make it easy for my enemies just to say, I am not a perfect person, and I would suggest that neither are you.”

He did amend his post to take out details of a few of the more than 50 lovers he claims, but says his post wasn’t inappropriate.

O'Neill revised his post only to eliminate some specifics identifying the two women.

“It’s obviously an appropriate post because we’re talking about real issues for real people.”

And though there are calls for him to resign, he says there’s no way.

“Absolutely not. We don’t have robots on the bench. We have real people. And what my post demonstrates is, I’m a real person.”

Betty Sutton, one of four other Democrats running for governor, has called for O’Neill to resign from the state high court. And Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor issued a statement condemning O’Neill’s post and saying it “shakes the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.”

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper also condemned O'Neill's post in a tweet. “We’re having a serious national conversation about rape culture and sexual harassment, and it’s crucial for men to take time to listen to women and consider their experiences and insights. Justice O’Neill’s Facebook comments both dehumanize women and do nothing but trivialize this important conversation, which is actually about harassment and abuse, not encounters between consenting adults,” he said. O’Neill says he’ll be out of the race if former attorney general Richard Cordray is in, which O’Neill thinks will happen in a week, since Cordray has announced he’s leaving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.