State system moves to revoke Sandusky's annual pension

Posted: October 12, 2012

Pennsylvania's public employee pension system said Wednesday it would revoke Jerry Sandusky's $59,000 annual pension given his conviction and sentencing in the child sexual-abuse scandal.

The State Employees' Retirement System notified Sandusky by letter that his crimes triggered forfeiture of his pension. The former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison for molesting 10 boys.

The retirement system told Sandusky he would no longer receive his $4,908 monthly annuity and informed his wife, Dottie, that she was no longer entitled to a survivor's benefit.

Karl Rominger, a lawyer for Sandusky, contended the agency had no legal grounds for revoking the pension and said Sandusky would fight any attempt to do so.

Pennsylvania's pension-forfeiture law, passed in 1978, applies primarily to public employees convicted of financial crimes related to their offices "or when . . . public employment places [them] in a position to commit the crime."

Since 2004, it has also applied to any public school employee convicted of a sex crime against a student.

In its letter to Sandusky, the retirement system said it had determined two of the criminal charges of which Sandusky was convicted - involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault - fell under the forfeiture law.

The letter to Sandusky was released to the Associated Press in response to an open-records request.

Rominger argued in part that because Sandusky wasn't convicted of molesting a Penn State student, the forfeiture law did not apply to him. Sandusky's young victims came to him through the Second Mile, his charity for troubled youth.

Sandusky entered the State Employees' Retirement System when he began working as a Penn State coach in 1969. He collected a $148,000 lump-sum payment when he retired from the university in 1999, and began receiving a monthly annuity, according to records provided by the retirement system. Sandusky received a total of $900,000 in pension payments between 1999 and September.

The forfeiture statute permits employee to keep their contributions without interest, minus any fees or restitution association with their convictions.

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