By Ben Simmoneau
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Eyewitness News has learned that Jerry Sandusky may be able to retain his $59,000 per year state pension for the rest of his life, even after being convicted on 45 criminal counts for sexually abusing 10 boys. As he sits in the Centre County prison now, Sandusky is still collecting monthly pension checks totaling $4,908.17.
The state law, which governs when pensions must be forfeited by a convict, does not include any specific references to sex crimes. Instead, Act 140 of 1978 pertains mostly to “crimes related to public office”: crimes like theft, bribery, forgery and perjury.
That means Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, the Penn State administrators charged with lying about the Sandusky matter could lose any pensions they are entitled to (Schultz already collects a $330,000 annual state pension; Curley is still an active employee), even though Sandusky could keep his.
A spokeswoman for the State Employee Retirement System said she would not speculate on any specific individual’s pension, but did say the pension board would fully review Sandusky’s case once he is sentenced. That will likely occur later this summer or fall.
“I think it’d be outrageous if Sandusky was able to qualify for the state pension,” said Zack Stalberg of the Philadelphia government watchdog group Committee of Seventy. “Any of these kinds of personnel decisions, there’s room for interpretation, and I think it’s up to the state to try to interpret him out of his pension.”
He pointed out that some of Sandusky’s crimes occurred on Penn State property.
“To me, that has to be taken into consideration,” he said.
“As a Pennsylvania taxpayer and a lawyer for one of the victims, this doesn’t seem right,” said Tom Kline who represents Sandusky victim five. “It appears that you could do an awful lot of heinous crimes so long as they do not relate to your official duties in your public employee capacity.”
It’s unknown how much taxpayer money goes to Sandusky’s pension, which is funded in part by contributions he made into the state pension fund. However, the fund is not in strong financial health and each year taxpayers provide millions of dollars to keep it solvent.
When he retired in 1999, Sandusky collected a lump sum payout of $148,271.71. The state pension fund says his final average salary was $101,787.