Published: Sat, November 18, 2017
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

OH politician criticized for Facebook post 'trivializing' sexual assault

OH politician criticized for Facebook post 'trivializing' sexual assault

And as a women I'm outraged that he would equate sexual assault with indiscretion.

A law professor who studies judicial ethics told cleveland.com Friday afternoon that Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill's Facebook post on his sexual history pushes the ethical boundaries of what a judge can and should say while he or she is in on the bench.

The post drew an nearly instantaneous backlash and prompted O'Neill's campaign manager to resign.

Betty Sutton
Betty Sutton @BettySutton

The campaign spokesman for Ohio State Supreme Court Justice and Democratic gubernatorial candidate William O'Neill has resigned over a Facebook post in which his boss wrote about his sexual past.

In response to sexual harassment allegations against Senator Al Franken, O'Neill wrote that he has been "sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females". It has been shortened from a previous version with more identifying information about two women he mentioned. "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. He says the women included "a gorgeous blonde" with whom he "made passionate love" in a hay loft and a "drop dead gorgeous red head" from Cleveland.

In contrast, the OH supreme court's chief justice condemned her colleague for expressing "gross disrespect for women", and his opponents have called for his resignation. "No words can convey my shock.This gross disrespect for women shakes the public's confidence in the integrity of the judiciary".

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O'Neill said such scrutiny could force good people from office.

O'Neill's spokesperson has reportedly stepped down. He said when he announced his run in October that to abide by those rules, he said he will not raise contributions and would resign as justice when he officially files his petitions to run.

According to OH media, Judge O'Neill must retire from the bench when his current term ends in 2019 due to age restrictions.

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Many viewed the post as remarkably tone-deaf in the national debate over sexual misconduct allegations and evidence against a series of powerful men in Hollywood, the media and in politics.

O'Neill said the misconduct story has gone too far.

"As a 15 year jurist, I like to think I speak with clarity".

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