Ohio native Crystal Bowersox rose to fame through her appearance on last season's installment of American Idol.
The nation loved her, Ohio loved her, and her devoted fans followed every story about the singer in the hopes of learning just a bit more about the American Idol runner-up.
A few of her fans who happened to be employed by the state of Ohio took their curiosity a bit too far.
Ohio has apologized to the reality star for a series of improper checks by employees on everything from her driving to vehicle records and more.
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.
And in Columbus, 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.
"I had no idea it happened," Bowersox told The Blade of Toledo last night from her home in Los Angeles. "I'm disgusted by it.
"You feel violated, but I guess it comes with the territory."
The State Highway Patrol detected the searches on Bowersox in late May, after she became an Idol finalist, when a patrol official decided to run an audit for suspicious checks.
Eight improper checks were found between Feb. 24 and May 27, including by police departments in Millersburg, Pemberville, Xenia and at the Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, as well as the Putnam County sheriff's office.
Those checks, plus one involving the Columbus city attorney's office, were conducted through the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, which is administered by the attorney general's office.
Punishments for the offenders have included suspensions, write-ups, and one termination.
Officials have provided explanations for almost every incident but as of yet have failed to explain why anyone was interested in Bowersox in the first place.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.