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From Prison, Sandusky Tries To Hang Onto His Penn State Pension

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo and Todd Quinones

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky spent the morning today seeking to overturn a ruling that denied him his state pension.

State law was changed in 2004 to include sex offenses against students to the list of reasons for which school employees can lose their pensions.

A big question involves whether the law applies to Sandusky, who retired from Penn State in 1999.

Sandusky, testifying via video link from the prison where he is serving a 30-60 year term for child abuse (see related story), said an agreement that detailed terms and perks extended to him after his retirement reflected his choice not pursue more lucrative positions.

“The opportunities that had existed to gain more financially I turned down,” Sandusky told the hearing officer, “and as a result, they decided to reward me for my service by this contract.”

But an attorney for the State Employees Retirement System attempted to use that agreement to show that Sandusky remained actively connected to Penn State after his retirement from active coaching and after the law was changed in 2004.

Lawyers argued that it was through “The Second Mile” that Sandusky abused two of his victims after 2004, which is when the law justifying the forfeiture of pensions was amended to include sex crimes.

However, Sandusky’s lawyer argued that when he retired from coaching in 1999 he was no longer a Penn State employee.

Sandusky says, “My primary purpose was to help young people.”

A final ruling is still weeks away and no matter the outcome it can still be appealed to another court.

Sandusky is waiting to hear if the state Supreme Court will hear his appeal to his criminal conviction.