Jerry Sandusky will spend the rest of his natural life in prison for molesting and assaulting numerous boys over a 15-year period, all met via his Second Mile foundation. The day he was sentenced, Pennsylvania’s State Employees’ Retirement Board cut off his sizable pension from his years of service at Penn State. Today, a court gave it back.
Sandusky will again receive the $4,900 a month he has gotten since retiring in 1999, including back payments and interest from the three years since his conviction. No one disputes what Sandusky did, but the legal question is whether his actions took place while he was working for Penn State.
The retirement board cited a statute referencing “crimes related to public office or public employment” in stripping Sandusky’s pension, but a Commonwealth Court panel ruled unanimously today that Sandusky was not technically an employee when he committed his criminal acts.
“The board conflated the requirements that Mr. Sandusky engage in ‘work relating to’ PSU and that he engage in that work ‘for’ PSU,” wrote Judge Dan Pellegrini. “Mr. Sandusky’s performance of services that benefited PSU does not render him a PSU employee.”
Sandusky, now 71, was convicted of abuse that occurred as early as 1994, when he was still a Penn State coach, but the court decided that since his crimes took place in his role with Second Mile as opposed to PSU, they shouldn’t affect his state pension.
The Retirement Board is expected to appeal today’s ruling.