Since retiring as Penn State's defensive coordinator in 1999, Jerry Sandusky has gotten a pension from the state. Presently, he gets just over $58,000 a year. It looks like he may still get it even though his child sex abuse rampage began while he was still a Penn State assistant--and there may not be a legal way to prevent it.
Public employees and officials can lose a pension when committing one of 22 crimes in the course of their duties.Pension board chairman Nicholas Maiale, a Penn State alum, wants a legal opinion on whether Sandusky can be stripped of his pension. However, he thinks that since most of the crimes that trigger a forfeit involve corruption and not violence, it's not likely the state can legally stop the checks from coming. To put this in perspective, Gary Schultz stands to lose his pension if he's convicted of lying to the grand jury investigating the case. And at least five bills are pending in the state legislature that would make crimes like those Sandusky committed grounds for losing a pension--but it's not likely they can apply retroactively without raising ex post facto issues.
Several former lawmakers have forfeited their pensions in recent years after convictions related to using millions of taxpayer dollars for re-election campaigns, which is illegal.
But the crimes requiring a public official or retiree to give up a pension do not include any of the sex-related offenses that are now on Sandusky’s rap sheet, even though some crimes occurred while he was still defensive coordinator of Penn State’s football team.
That's not to say, however, that Sandusky--or his wife, who is the main beneficiary once he dies--will get to enjoy that money.
Jerry Sandusky could be ordered to pay hefty fines and court costs through his sentence on 45 counts of sex abuse crimes later this year. He will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.And that's not even mentioning the possibility he could get rung up on additional criminal charges in Florida and Texas, as well as possible federal charges.
He also faces the legal fees from his defense against the criminal case, the anticipated appeals and additional civil litigation. The victims might seek civil damages.