COLUMBUS (AP) — A state Supreme Court justice running for Ohio governor volunteered candid details of his sexual past on Facebook, saying Friday that he was taking a swipe at the “media frenzy” over sexual misconduct.
Democrat William O’Neill’s post was immediately attacked as inappropriate and led to calls for his ouster.
In it, he wrote that he has been “sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females.” He wrote that 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.
After posting the message, he edited it to remove some identifying information about the women.
O’Neill told The Associated Press that the details provided were true and that was trying to make a point.
“It’s a matter of parody suggesting that, as a governor candidate, I assume I am the next target of the media frenzy,” he said.
“So I figure let’s just get it out here on Front Street right here and now,” he added, referring to the street where the Supreme Court building sits.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, the first woman to hold that position, condemned the post.
“No words can convey my shock,” she said in a statement. “This gross disrespect for women shakes the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.”
Former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, a leading Democrat in the governor’s race, called for O’Neill to resign immediately, saying he was trivializing the issue.
“As an attorney, I’m appalled at these remarks of a Supreme Court Justice,” she said. “As a Democrat, I’m horrified a statewide candidate would belittle victims of sexual harassment and assault this way. And, as a woman, I’m outraged he would equate sexual assault with indiscretion.”
Sutton’s call followed by a day her unveiling of a plan to combat sexual harassment and sexual assault in state government, where two state lawmakers have resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations in about a month’s time.
O’Neill said the post grew out of frustration over Democrats’ calls to remove Al Franken from the U.S. Senate over sexual misconduct allegations.
“Democrats are now calling for Al Franken’s removal from the United States Senate for an indiscreet act for which he has apologized, the victim has accepted the apology — and now the feeding frenzy begins,” O’Neill said.