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October 11, 2012 | By | Posted in General News

State ready to strip Sandusky of his pension

OFF TO PRISON: Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, is taken from the Centre County Courthouse on Tuesday after being sentenced at least 30 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, in the child sexual abuse scandal. (AP Photo)

 

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — The state has made a move to revoke Jerry Sandusky’s state pension, but it may mark only the beginning of a legal tussle over the letter of the law.

The State Employee Retirement System sent a letter to Sandusky notifying him that his pension was revoked in accordance with Act 140, which governs public pension forfeitures, as first reported by The Associated Press.

Under Pennsylvania law, public pension forfeiture only applies to certain crimes relating to public corruption, or certain crimes committed by school employees against a student.

Sandusky’s lawyers told The Associated Press that SERS does not have legal ground to take the pension, as the victims in the case were not students at Penn State University, where Sandusky was employed.

Should Sandusky’s legal counsel appeal, the SERS Board will hear the case first. From there, it goes to the state court system.

Those who forfeit their pension under state law are reimbursed their own contributions.

Act 140 forfeitures apply upon conviction for certain crimes. Existing case law says that “conviction” occurs at sentencing. Sandusky was sentenced on Tuesday.

PA Independent has filed a Right-to-Know request with the state to file an open records request in order to obtain the letter sent to Sandusky.

Sandusky’s case spurred a number of pieces of legislation that would amend Act 140, but those have yet to pass the General Assembly with only several days left of the session.

Bureau Chief Eric Boehm contributed to this report.

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Melissa Daniels is a reporter for PA Independent. She can be reached at 717-350-0962 or Melissa@PAIndependent.com

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