Pennsylvania's public employee pension system has moved to revoke Jerry Sandusky's pension after his conviction and sentence in the child sexual abuse scandal.
The State Employees' Retirement System notified Sandusky by letter Wednesday that his crimes triggered forfeiture of his pension. The former Penn State assistant football coach was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison for molesting 10 boys.
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Sandusky's lawyer, Karl Rominger, contended the retirement system has no legal grounds for revoking Sandusky's pension and said Sandusky will fight any attempt to do so.
Sandusky's pension is a reported $59,000 per year. He also collected a $148,000 lump sum payment when he retired from the university in 1999.
Pennsylvania's pension forfeiture law, originally passed in 1978, primarily applies to public employees convicted of a financial crime related to the office "or when his public employment places him in a position to commit the crime." But It also applies to any public school employee convicted of a sex crime against a student.
Rominger argued in part that since Sandusky wasn't convicted of molesting a Penn State student, the forfeiture law does not apply to him. Sandusky's young victims came to him through The Second Mile, his charity for troubled youth.
"I have looked at the issue. and I don't think there is anything they can do to his pension," Rominger said. "There is no reason for them to even attempt to do it. If they did attempt to do it, obviously it would be vigorously defended.''
Sandusky could also argue that, because he was on Penn State's payroll, he doesn't count as a public school employee under the law. Penn State is considered to be a ``state-related'' university; it is not state-owned and operated.
But Philadelphia attorney Alaine Williams, an expert on public employee labor law, said courts have broadly construed the forfeiture law.
"I think he's got a very serious problem,'' she said. "I think he is potentially looking at forfeiture of his pension.''
The forfeiture statute permits an employee to keep his or her contributions without interest, minus any fees or restitution association with the employee's conviction. Employees subject to forfeiture can appeal to the board of the State Employees' Retirement System, then through the state court system.
Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday on 45 counts of child sex abuse, and some of the abuse took place while he worked as Penn State as a state employee. The sentence will likely keep Sandusky, who is 68, in jail for the rest of his life. Thirty years is the minimum time he must spend and 60 years is the maximum.
Before his sentence was handed down, Judge John Cleland told Sandusky that the convicted pedophile's crime was not just what he did to the bodies of his victims, but to their psyche and their soul.
For his part, Sandusky rambled for 18 minutes in court, giving a statement that some observers described as delusional and self-serving, but without remorse.