August 4, 2006

CORRECTED-BALCO chemist sentenced to 3 months jail

(Corrects to identify 100-meter champion as Justin Gatlin
in paragraph 10)

By Adam Tanner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge sentenced
the Illinois chemist who devised a steroid at the center of the
BALCO sports doping scandal to three months in prison on

Judge Susan Illston accepted a plea deal agreement of three
months prison followed by three months home detention
punishment as part of a two-year supervised release program for
Patrick Arnold, known as the "father of prohormones," which are
steroid-like substances.

The punishment was the same given to baseball star Barry
Bonds' personal trainer last year for steroid distribution in
the BALCO affair, that has tarred the reputations of top
athletes in track and field, baseball and football.

Judge Illston last year also sentenced the head of the
BALCO lab to four months jail and four months home confinement.

Asked whether Arnold would help prosecutors by sharing his
knowledge of steroids, his lawyer Nanci Clarence responded:
"Cooperation and assistance is not contemplated under this

She added after the sentencing: "He is not cooperating."

In April Arnold admitted to one count of conspiring to
distribute steroids. Arnold concocted the steroid known as the
"Clear" or THG (tetrahydrogestrinone) that had enabled pro
athletes to boost their performance without detection.

According to the federal indictment last year, Arnold
synthesized THG from gestrinone, a steroid for which he paid
$10,800 in China, and then sent the refashioned substance to
California-based BALCO and others.

Officials only gained the ability to detect the Clear after
a track coach in 2003 sent a used syringe to the U.S.
Anti-Doping Agency.

On Thursday, the trainer who sent in the discarded syringe,
Trevor Graham, was banned from using U.S. Olympic Committee
training centers and facilities. Earlier, one of his trainees,
Olympic and 100-meters champion Justin Gatlin failed a test for
testosterone or its precursors.

San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds, who is playing mediocre
baseball this year, is also still the subject of a grand jury
probe into whether he lied in BALCO testimony about any past
association with steroids.