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Prosecutors OK but don#039;t file charges against Chattams

DAYTON -- Prosecutors approved but did not file a theft charge Wednesday against Ohio State wide receiver Angelo Chattams, who is under investigation in the theft of golf clubs.

The decision paves the way for the Montgomery County prosecutor to consider allowing Chattams to enroll in a pretrial diversionary program for non-violent, first-time offenders and avoid being charged altogether, said Jim Knight, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office.

If Chattams successfully completes the program, he would not be charged, Knight said. If he fails to complete the program, prosecutors would let a grand jury decide whether to issue criminal charges.

''He has to convince us he is a good candidate for this program,'' Knight said.

Denny Gump, Chattams' attorney, hopes to work out a resolution agreeable to all parties.

''If successful, it will require probably community service, maybe some counseling, and certainly restitution has to be made,'' Gump said. ''He will be truthful about his conduct, and he will accept responsibility for his own mistakes.''

Richard Barnhart, chief of police in the Dayton suburb of West Carrollton, said Tuesday that Chattams was being investigated in the theft of golf clubs that were stolen July 29 from a parked sport utility vehicle.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said Chattams has been excused from the team to confront a legal problem, but did not elaborate on why he was allowed to go home to Dayton.

''The only thing I know is, we had him go home to find out a little bit of what the situation is so that we can respond to it,'' he said.

Ohio State spokesman Steve Snapp said Tressel would most likely have an update on Chattams' status after the Buckeyes' practice on Thursday afternoon.

Tressel said Chattams had to deal with an incident that happened in July but said he knew no further details. He said no further decisions would be made regarding Chattams' status on the team until more information was known.

Tressel called the departure a ''distraction'' but said the Buckeyes would move on.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound sophomore had two catches for 26 yards in nine games last year. He played in Ohio State's season opener against Texas Tech on Aug. 24 but did not have any stats.

His departure is the latest blow to a team that has lost several key players recently.

Late last month, fullback Jesse Kline quit the team because of continuing injuries.

Flanker Chris Vance and freshman defensive lineman Quinn Pitcock were forced to sit out the Buckeyes' season opener -- Vance for an unspecified violation of team policy, Pitcock because he was arrested for underage drinking.

Fullback Branden Joe was arrested and charged with drunken driving after police found him asleep in a car about 3:45 a.m. on a highway ramp near campus. He was suspended from the team but is now practicing for Saturday's game against Kent State. The Associated Press