The finalist, charged with felony domestic violence in 2001, plea-bargained to a misdemeanor

April 01, 2005 08:00 AM

Another season, another Idol contestant whose past has caught up with him.

This time, it’s American Idol finalist Scott Savol, who in 2001 was arrested on a charge of felony domestic violence after allegedly roughing up his infant son’s mother during a Valentine’s Day confrontation. The charge was eventually reduced to disorderly conduct.

A statement from the American Idol producers and FOX says: “Scott Savol was forthcoming to the American Idol producers and the network regarding his misdemeanor. 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.”

Savol, who remains a contestant, is unavailable to respond personally because of Idol regulations, which forbid contestants from giving any interviews during competition. Once contestants are eliminated, however, that restriction is lifted.

According to a Shaker Heights, Ohio, police report, the incident in question involved Savol, 28, and Michele Martin, 21, and occurred inside the home of her mother, where the unmarried couple lived – until deciding to “split up their living arrangement,” says the report.

When Savol and his brother arrived to begin the moving process, an argument ensued, with Savol calling Martin “several vulgar names,” snatching the engagement ring off her finger and then declaring “he was also going to take their son,” according to police, whose report says Savol allegedly “grabbed the baby.”

Martin reached for the phone “to call 911,” the report states, but Savol allegedly grabbed it, hit her in the chest with it, and “caused the phone to break.”

Savol and his brother left. When police arrived, Martin said that Savol had “made verbal threats to her in the past by telling her to ‘watch her back.'” The next day, she signed a warrant for his arrest, says the Smoking Gun.

Savol plea bargained to a reduced misdemeanor of disorderly conduct and was fined $500, placed on a year’s probation, ordered to complete a domestic violence or anger management program, and he was sentenced to a suspended 20-day jail term.

Savol’s other brushes with the law includes a “no contest” plea to a 1995 misdemeanor trespass charge.

Savol is hardly the first Idol contestant to have his past exposed: 2004 finalist Donnie Williams was arrested on suspicion of DUI; Frenchie Davis, in 2003, was discovered to have posed on an adult Web site; and finalist Corey Clark and semifinalist Jaered Andrews both had previous arrest records.

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