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O'Neill Apologizes for Facebook Post on His Sexual History: 'I have damaged the national debate'

Bill O'Neill
OHIO SUPREME COURT

After a controversial Facebook post Friday mentioning sexual liaisons with 50 women, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill has taken down that post and apologized for what he wrote. But Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports he says he won’t resign, though some have said he should.

O'Neill's post
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The Facebook post O'Neill put up Sunday apologizes to women for trivializing what he says is a vital debate over sexual harassment.

O’Neill said he’s concerned about the calls for Sen. Al Franken to resign after apologizing for forcibly kissing and groping a woman in 2006, but said he knew he’d have to say something outrageous to get attention.

“That was the point I was trying to raise, but I apparently did not do it very well at all," O'Neill said.

Critics said O’Neill’s initial post with details about sexual relationships trivialized sexual harassment.

“I think the reaction certainly trivialized it, but that was never my intention," he said.

O'Neill said thousands of angry comments, including from his two daughters and two sisters, made him see things differently.

“That’s why I’ve taken the post down and issued what I hope to be accepted as a heartfelt apology.”

O’Neill says Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor also shared her disappointment, and he says he’ll start working on that relationship right away.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.