Reps: No pensions for pedophiles

Philadelphia's Kevin and Brendan Boyle (right) will make history asthe first siblings to serve simultaneously in the Pennsylvania House.
Philadelphia's Kevin and Brendan Boyle (right) will make history asthe first siblings to serve simultaneously in the Pennsylvania House. (JULIETTE LYNCH / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 26, 2011

IN THE WAKE of a Daily News report yesterday on former city workers with felony convictions receiving pensions, two state lawmakers said they were drafting legislation to close a loophole in pension law.

State Reps. Brendan Boyle and Kevin Boyle, Democratic brothers from Northeast Philadelphia, were working on a bill that would disqualify state and municipal workers convicted of a sex crime against a minor from getting a public pension.

Under state pension law, which applies to city workers, sex crimes are not listed as a disqualifying act. City forfeiture rules do list "malfeasance in office," which could cover sex crimes committed on duty, but that still means that sex crimes committed on employees' own time don't disqualify them.

"It is outrageous that you could have a convicted pedophile sitting in prison receiving a public pension," said Brendan Boyle.

No official action can be taken until the state House is back in session in September. But Kevin Boyle said he expected interest in the bill.

"I don't think there will be a problem in finding sponsors across the aisle," Boyle said.

The Fraternal Order of Police representative on the city Pension Board, Ron Stagliano, said he did not object to the Boyles' proposal. But he questioned whether such legislation, if approved by the General Assembly, "would hold up" if challenged in court.

Kevin Boyle said there had been no successful challenges against similar Florida legislation.

The Daily News reported yesterday that at least eight former city workers convicted of felonies - three of them for sex crimes - are receiving pensions. Some of those cases didn't meet city or state criteria for disqualification, while others were never brought up for review.

City Inspector General Amy Kurland says her office is working to ensure that future cases don't slip through the cracks. The I.G. gets information from the U.S. Attorney's Office on city workers convicted of federal crimes and has received commitment from the District Attorney's Office that they will notify the I.G. of all state convictions of city workers.

But City Controller Alan Butkovitz and First Judicial District President Judge Pamela Dembe also offered help yesterday. They said Dembe would start providing the controller with a monthly report on any state convictions of city workers, which the controller would cross-check against databases of city workers and pensioners. Matches would be sent to the Pension Board for review.

Kurland said that any additional information could help, but added that all parties should meet to agree on a strategy.

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