A former Huron Municipal Court clerk pleaded guilty to misuse of property for using a court computer to look up background information on "American Idol" contestant Crystal Bowersox.
Karen Grendow is scheduled for sentencing in January at Erie County Common Pleas Court. She's likely to be sentenced to a diversion program for the misdemeanor offense, said Trevor Hayberger, Erie County assistant prosecutor.
Grendow, 45, resigned from her position June 14 for personal reasons.
State officials discovered on May 18 she used the Ohio Court Network to search for Bowersox's records. A Toledo-area native, Bowersox was runner-up on the recent "American Idol" season.
Huron city manager Andy White chalked the incident up to a "misunderstanding in policy."
"It's unfortunate something like this happened," White said. "Things got turned upside down in one of the city's departments and everyone in the municipal clerk of courts office had to rethink their day-to-day operations."
Grendow was always a good employee, White said.
"I've known Karen since I became an employee of the city and I've only known her to be a good employee," he said.
White also said he was pleased with how administrators handled the problem once it came to their attention.
"It was handled expediently and efficiently," White said. "That just demonstrates the professional values upheld by the city."
Grendow was hired as a deputy clerk of courts in December 1996.
The Ohio Supreme Court on June 4 notified Huron of the search, said Laura Alkire, Huron's acting law director.
Court workers log into the system by using unique user names and passwords, allowing the user's search to be tracked.
"A search had been done on Crystal Bowersox, which raised a red flag, and they were asking the Huron Municipal Court to explain why the search had been done," Alkire said.
Huron police requested the records from April 1 to June 10 and found other instances where someone searched for records related to people who didn't have corresponding court cases, Alkire said.
The Ohio Supreme Court does not have strict guidelines on using the system, but record checks must be conducted for legitimate purposes, she said.
"It seems to me like she just made a silly mistake," Hayberger said. "I think she's accepted her responsibility and it's time to move on."
Grendow did not use the information for any personal gain or theft, Hayberger said.
"I think it was more out of curiosity than any mischievous intent," he said.
Alkire added: "It was unfortunate all the way around."
Grendow's attorney, Tom Dusza, Sandusky, said Grendow wanted to take responsibility for her actions.
"Lack of judgment is a good way to put it," Dusza said. "She's moving on and trying to put that behind her."