No season of American Idol would be complete without The Smoking Gun digging up a rap sheet on a contestant. This time, it’s 28-year-old finalist Scott Savol. TSG reports that, on Valentine’s Day 2001, the big-voiced balladeer was arrested on a domestic violence rap in his hometown of Shaker Heights, Ohio, with his then-girlfriend, the mother of his infant son, Brandon.
The Smoking Gun found Savol’s mug shot and police report, where Shaker Heights police described the breakup of Savol and Michele Martin. Police said Savol, who was moving out, had called her ”vulgar names,” grabbed her hand, and pulled the engagement ring from her finger, then said he was taking the baby. When she threatened to call 911, he shoved her, grabbed the phone, and threw it at her chest, breaking the phone in the process, the report said. Savol had left by the time police arrived at Martin’s house.
Martin initially sought just a restraining order on him, but the next day, she signed a warrant for his arrest. Savol eventually struck a plea deal, accepting a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He was fined $500, given a year’s probation, ordered to take an anger management course, and placed under a protective order for a year at Martin’s request.
Could Savol’s history have meant his ouster as an Idol finalist? Two years ago, Fox and the show’s producers booted finalist Corey Clark for failing to disclose to them an arrest for allegedly assaulting his 15-year-old sister, which hadn’t come to light during his background check because his name had been misspelled in a police report. (Clark, who police said scuffled with arresting officers, ultimately reached a plea agreement, pleading no contest to a reduced charge of obstructing legal process.)
Reached Thursday evening, a network spokesperson declined EW.com’s request for comments on Savol. Late in the evening, however, Fox issued a statement saying that Savol would stay. ”Scott Savol was forthcoming to the American Idol producers and the network regarding his misdemeanor,” the statement read. ”After reviewing the facts, in which the charges were reduced to disorderly conduct, we felt that considering Scott’s honesty and his remorse, the situation did not warrant his disqualification.”
While Savol may have been honest with Fox and Idol producers, he certainly didn’t hint to Idol viewers that he had any skeletons in his closet. On his bio page on the Idol website, when asked to name his most embarrassing moment, Savol replied, ”I don’t have any.”