Bill O'Neill offers apology for Facebook post describing past sexual encounters

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill offered an apology Saturday to a post describing his past sexual encounters.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill offered an apology Saturday to a post describing his past sexual encounters.(File photo)

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill offered an apology Saturday for a sexually-charged Facebook post, though said he was not sorry if he helped elevate the discussion on sexual assault.

O'Neill - the only Democrat elected to statewide office who declared his candidacy for governor last month - posted Friday about was he said were his sexual exploits with 50 women. He equated possible interest in his consensual sex life to allegations of sexual harassment against Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken. He also defended Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in an interview with cleveland.com.

Sitting Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill, responding to Franken allegations, claims bedding 50 women

After the post went viral, he later told his critics to "lighten up."

Bill O'Neill on his sexually-charged Facebook post: 'Lighten up folks'

On Saturday afternoon, O'Neill posted an apology on his Facebook page.

Oneill apologyOhio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill, a Democrat and candidate for governor, apologized Saturday for a Facebook post describing his past sexual escapades, comparing them to allegations of sexual harassment against other high-profile politicians. 

"If I offended anyone, particularly the wonderful women in my life, I apologize. But if I have helped elevate the discussion on the serious issues of sexual assault, as opposed to personal indiscretions, to a new level...I make no apologies," O'Neill wrote on his Facebook. "Suggesting the admitted conduct of Senator Al Franken and the alleged conduct of Judge Roy Moore are on the same level trivializes the serious subject at hand."

But O'Neill also seemed to stand by some of his original assertions on Franken and Moore.

"There are Democrats out there who are saying neither one of them pass the purity test to sit in the United States Senate. And that is sad," O'Neill wrote.

A Los Angeles radio host accused Franken of forcing her to kiss him during rehearsal for a skit at a USO show and of groping her while she was asleep.

Moore stands accused of sexually harassing seven young women, including molesting a 14-year-old.

O'Neill said Friday neither had been convicted of anything and calls for their resignations violated their due process.

O'Neill did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

O'Neill's original post was widely condemned on social media, including from his fellow Democratic politicians and Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor.

Chris Clevenger, O'Neill's campaign manager who said he had no prior knowledge O'Neill was going to make the original post, quit the campaign as well.

Numerous people called for him to both drop out of the governor's race and resign his seat on the bench. O'Neill is expected to drop out of the governor's race when Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard officially enters.

O'Neill said Friday he would not step down from the high court.