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June 29, 2012

"Jerry Sandusky Could Get Pension in Prison Unless Bill Passes"

The title of this post is the headline of this ABC News story, which gets started this way:

Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky will likely receive his $58,898-a-year state pension while in prison, unless a bill stalled in Pennsylvania's senate finance committee is quickly passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.

The bill would prevent employees convicted of sexual offenses related to their jobs from receiving their state pensions, said Cameron Kline, a spokesperson for State Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, who introduced the bill before Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing boys in his Second Mile program.

"This was introduced on Oct. 18, 2011, well before Sandusky's crimes came to light," Kline said. "It's something we think would be very appropriate for a case such as this. Now that it's over, we're a little concerned, confused and angry it's still stuck there. Apparently it's not a priority so the legislation still stays in committee."

Under current law, the pensions of public employees can be seized when a member is convicted of an Act 140 crime. That act includes crimes such as extortion, perjury and bribery but does not include sexual abuse, according to the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System website.

Pam Phile, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System, said she could not speculate on whether Sandusky will have to forfeit his pension under the existing law, which was passed in 1978. "SERS reviews the sentencing documents in reaching a forfeiture determination and there has been no sentencing yet in this particular case," Phile said.

Kline said there are potentially other ways Sandusky could be stripped of his pension, but said passing a law at the state level would probably be the most logical. "There could be things at the Penn State level," he said. "[But] I really think it has to be a state law issue. This is the only thing that is at the ready to move. To my knowledge this is the best option."

June 29, 2012 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I'm not seeing the logic in cherry picking crimes that warrant forfeiture of pensions. So state employees convicted of murder will collect but those of sexual assault will not?

Posted by: Robert | Jun 29, 2012 2:27:53 PM

Robert (Jun 29, 2012 2:27:53 PM):

You are looking for logic? Really?

There's no logic but there is a pattern. A pattern for which I will be retaliating more heavily than usual all weekend and next week.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jun 29, 2012 4:09:35 PM

not knowing anything about how state pensions are treated in Pennsylvania, wouldn't Sandusky's victims be able to collect either restitution or from a civil suit? if so, isn't this law essentially taking money out of the victims since the pension is likely their only hope of collecting anything.

also, if the law is primarily directed at Sandusky after the fact, wouldn't there be some pretty serious Constitutional issues here? not to mention that doesn't federal law protect pensions - I remember that the Goldmans weren't able to take O.J. Simpson's NFL pension for some reason but I don't really know the law at all in this area - does anyone know?

Erika :)

Posted by: Erika | Jun 29, 2012 4:34:04 PM

He shouldn't get a penny from here on out. I think the victims should split it up, sell his house all his belongings and split it up. Logic should be applied here but in terms up the victims and that's it, whats logical for them and the worst possible outcome for Sandusky and his family.

BTW thanks for the interesting post, I'm just a cook and first time reader.

Posted by: UnitedStatesGamblingOnline.com | Jun 29, 2012 4:57:23 PM

He worked for it. It's his money.
If the victims want a piece, then file an action.
This sounds like a bill of attainder.

Posted by: ? | Jun 29, 2012 8:24:17 PM

Ridiculous. I'm sure the courts will be more than happy to stick their fingers in their eyes and proclaim that such a law wouldn't violate the ex post facto clause as applied to Jerry Sandusky, and, as Robert pointed out there's little logic in singling out one class of crime for punishment when, ostensibly, other crimes are also bad.

But what the hey, I'm sure it'll help get Sen. Farnese a few votes in the end, so why not?

Posted by: Guy | Jun 29, 2012 11:49:23 PM

And I'll also add, be still my beating heart but I agree with Erika about something. It does seem that taking Sandusky's pension away just helps to make him judgement-proof in the event of the sure-to-be-forthcoming civil litigation surrounding his many years of molestation -- so why not let him get it so his victims can get at it instead?

Posted by: Guy | Jun 30, 2012 12:50:45 AM

that bill is both retarded and crimnal. Since it won't apply to him since his crime PREDATES it! As for the victims yes they are covered under i think both state and federal laws that let them go after his assets! that have been in place for decades so he's under them.

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 30, 2012 1:29:24 AM

does ERISA apply to the pensions of state employees? I tend to think it does not apply, but am not 100% certain. If it does not apply, the issue about federal law protecting the pension would probably be off the table.

Posted by: Tim Holloway | Jun 30, 2012 1:44:24 PM

Michigan has had a statute since the 1930's, seizing all an inmate's assets, with a few small exceptions, during the period of incarceration. The State Treasurer is made the trustee of the assets, and uses them to pay the state for the cost of the inmate being in prison (up to c. $36,000/year). At least one other state (Missouri?) has a similar provision. Then the big fight comes over ERISA-qualified pensions, where the pension plan trustee doesn't want the property seized by the state, instead of being paid to the pensioner.

Posted by: Greg Jones | Jun 30, 2012 1:47:30 PM

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