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Art Schlichter Freed From Prison

September 3, 1999

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (AP) _ Former NFL quarterback Art Schlichter left prison Friday, but more gambling-related problems could return him behind bars.

Schlichter, released after serving less than half of a four-year sentence for gambling convictions, faces new charges of illegal gambling stemming from accusations he used prison pay phones to bet on football and hockey games. He’s due in court Tuesday.

Schlichter, who likely will plead innocent to the latest charges, is continuing his treatment for the gambling habit that has kept him in legal trouble since 1983, his lawyer, Randall Woodruff, said.

``I don’t think it’s any secret that Mr. Schlichter has had his problems in recent years,″ Woodruff said. ``He’s been working through them.″

Madison County authorities accuse Schlichter of placing wagers with a Las Vegas bookmaker last November from the Correctional Industrial Facility in Pendleton. He was transferred to another state prison in Plainfield after being charged last week, Department of Correction spokeswoman Pam Pattison said.

Schlichter was at home and unavailable for comment Friday, Woodruff said. He said Schlichter was living in Indiana, but would not be more specific.

Schlichter admitted to an Indiana State Police investigator that he ``had a relapse and needed help,″ according to a report published Aug. 26 in the Herald Bulletin of Anderson.

Prosecutor Rodney Cummings issued warrants last week on four misdemeanor counts of illegal gambling.

Schlichter, who won early release by earning two college degrees behind bars through Ball State University, avoided transfer to the Madison County Jail by posting $5,000 bond, Cummings said.

Each of the four charges carries a maximum sentence of 180 days and a maximum $1,000 fine. If convicted, Schlichter could be ordered to serve consecutive sentences.

In 1997, Schlichter was sentenced to four years in state prison on charges of theft, forgery and fraud in connection with the theft of $800,000 to support his gambling habit.

Before beginning his Indiana prison term, Schlichter served a federal sentence in Kentucky for a probation violation. He surrendered to Indiana authorities Jan. 26, 1998.

Schlichter played at Ohio State from 1978-1981, leading the Buckeyes to two Big Ten championships. He was taken by the then-Baltimore Colts as the fourth player overall in the NFL draft.

The NFL suspended Schlichter for one year in 1983 when it was learned that bookies had threatened him over $150,000 in gambling debts.

Schlichter returned to the Colts, then relocated to Indianapolis, in 1984. He was released following the 1985 season.