Ohio Apologizes For Criminal Record Checks On “Idol” Contestant


American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox gained national acclaim belting out her style of folksy blues on the popular TV show. Some of the attention the Toledo-area singer received back home in Ohio was unflattering, as police and others improperly checked to see if she had a criminal record or blemishes on her driving record. From computers with access to personal information in confidential state databases, employees of five police agencies and a municipal court rummaged through Bowersox’s background, says the Columbus Dispatch. An Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles clerk examined vehicles registered in the performer’s name, and the home computer of an assistant city prosecutor was used to check on the newly minted star.

An Ohio Department of Public Safety official apologized in a July 1 letter to Bowersox for the unauthorized breaches of her privacy and wrote that there was no evidence that she had become an identity-theft victim. Bowersox told the Toledo Blade: “I’m disgusted by it. You feel violated, but I guess it comes with the territory.” Only one person has been charged with illegally snooping on Bowersox. Bureau of Motor Vehicles clerk Jay Wright, 47, was fired from his $43,434-a-year job for checking Bowersox’s vehicle-registration information. He was indicted last month for unauthorized use of property, a fifth-degree felony carrying up to a year in prison.

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