When Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse against 10 boys back in 2012, the Penn State board ended payment of Sandusky’s $4,900-a-month pension. On Tuesday night the AP reported that a Pennsylvania arbitrator ruled that those payments must be restored and back pay awarded to Sandusky.
According to the AP report, the heart of the matter was the actual end of Sandusky’s employment at Penn State. That’s because the pension needed to be paid out via the rules in place at the time Sandusky retired and not after.
From the AP report:
“Hearing examiner Michael Bangs wrote in an opinion dated Thursday but made public Monday that it was clear the former assistant football coach was no longer a Penn State employee after his 1999 retirement.”
It appears the issue is that the State Employee Retirement Services (SERS) department attempted to use a rule change from 2004 that made sexual offenses to the list of crimes that triggered forfeiture of a pension.
However, examiner Bangs saw things differently, “The Pennsylvania forfeiture law is simply not applicable to SERS’ members who commit crimes after they have begun receiving their pensions, which is really what SERS is attempting to do in this case,” Bangs wrote. “The courts simply cannot extend the current law beyond any rational interpretation of its current form.”
Both sides of this fight can respond to the recommendation of the arbitrator, and it will be up to the SERS board to make the final determination on Sandusky’s pension. The board could rule on this as early as this fall, and if it is reinstated his wife Dottie could get as much as a 50 percent survivors annuity according to the AP report.
Sandusky is currently serving a 30-to-60 year prison term for the sexual assaults and at the age of 70 is highly unlikely to see the outside world as a free man again.