'American Idol 4' finalist Scott Savol avoids boot despite prior misdemeanor convictions
By Wade Paulsen, 04/01/2005
Despite reports yesterday that American Idol 4 finalist Scott Savol, 28, had been convicted of two prior misdemeanors, including one for an assault on the mother of his four-year-old son, Idol producers announced last night that they had already known about the convictions and that Scott would not be removed from the ongoing finals, which has been reduced to the final nine contestants.
A statement issued by Fox, the network that airs American Idol, stated that "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."
The convictions were revealed yesterday by The Smoking Gun, which posted Scott's mug shot, the police complaint against Scott and the temporary restraining order ("TRO") that was issued to protect his girlfriend and child from Scott.
According to the police record, Scott and his then-fiancee Michele Martin, 21 at the time, were living with her mother in the Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Shaker Heights when their son, Brandon, was born on January 23, 2001. On his Idol profile, Scott saya that Brandon's birth was the proudest moment of his life. Evidently the good feelings faded fast, because just three weeks later, on Valentine's Day 2001, Scott was in the process of moving out on Michele and his son when he erupted.
According to the police report, Scott and his brother showed up in the afternoon of the "day for lovers" to move his belongings. During the process, Scott and Michele started arguing about his departure. Scott escalated the battle by calling Michele "several vulgar names," then grabbed her left hand, yanked off the engagement ring that he'd given her and pocketed it. Next, he announced that he was also going to take Brandon and grabbed him too.
At that point, Michele said she was going to call 911 and get the police, and she picked up the phone. Scott grabbed the phone out of her hands and hit her in the chest with it, with such force that the phone broke. Scott and his brother then left, without Brandon.
When Michele talked to the police, her primary concern was just her safety while Scott got the rest of his things out of her mom's house. However, after a night of reflection, she requested Scott's arrest on a domestic violence warrant, and Scott (recorded as 6'0" and 270 lb.) was taken into custody, then released on $7,500 bond. In addition, a TRO was issued against Scott as a condition of release, ordering him to stay away from Michele and Brandon.
Ultimately, Scott pled guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor. He was fined $500, sentenced to a 20-day jail term (which was suspended), given one year's probation, and ordered to complete a domestic violence or anger management class.
In addition, the Smoking Gun also found that Scott had been convicted six years earlier of misdemeanor trespass for entering Shaker Heights High School after having been "warned both verbally and by letter" to stay out of the building. However, apparently neither of these convictions had very much impact on Scott, because according to his IdolOnFox.com biography, his answer to a question about his "most embarrassing moment" is "I don't have any."
Although Idol producers may not think Scott's actions (or lack of concern about them) are so egregious that he should not become an "American idol," the American public may take a different view of such behavior roward the mother of his child ... a view that could be expressed as early as this Wednesday night, when one of the nine remaining finalists will be voted off. Scott has not yet been in the bottom three vote-getters.
Scott joins a long list of past Idol contestants who have been accused of bad conduct ... a list headed by judge Paula Abdul, who was punished last week for her role in a hit-and-run accident in Los Angeles.
If Scott would like encouragement about his remaining chances, it might come from Trenyce, whose past was disclosed when she was also in the final nine. She ended up finishing fifth, behind the best top-three ever on Idol -- Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and Kimberley Locke.