A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled to restore Jerry Sandusky’s pension from Penn State this morning after determining that Sandusky was not a Penn State employee when his crimes were committed.
Sandusky elected for his wife, Dottie, to receive 50 percent of his pension at the time of his retirement in 1999, but the entirety of the pension was forfeited in October 2012 due to the crimes Sandusky was convicted of. A letter from the State Employee’s Retirement Board outlined that, because Sandusky was a de facto employee from July 1, 1999 through at least December 31, 2008 (a span that covered the timeframe in which Sandusky’s crimes were committed), and his crimes were determined as related to his position at the university, his pension was subject to forfeiture.
Sandusky argued that he was not considered a school employee when he committed the acts that led to the forfeiture of his pension, but instead more of an “independent contractor” than a Penn State employee. He also testified that the benefits Penn State granted him upon his retirement ($168,000, football and basketball season tickets, and an office in the East Area locker room) were a “reward” for his “service,” and that emeritus employees were often granted similar benefits upon retirement. Sandusky argued that, to the best of his knowledge, Penn State did not consider him an employee after 1999.
Following Sandusky’s hearing, a hearing officer recommended that Sandusky’s pension be reinstated, interpreting that the provisions of the Pension Forfeiture Act were not applicable to him, and that he did not satisfy the definition of a school employee at the time he committed the crimes. The officer also determined that Sandusky was not a de facto employee as outlined in the letter because he controlled the capacity in which he worked after his retirement.
The distinction comes in the argument that while Sandusky did work to better the image of Penn State and worked with The Second Mile in relation with the university, the appeal says that none of the work Sandusky was doing at Penn State or in relation to Penn State with the Second Mile was for Penn State. Therefore it was determined that he was not a Penn State employee during this time.
Sandusky’s pension was reinstated from October 9, 2012 onward. The board determined that it’s failure to rightfully pay Sandusky resulted in an interest due to him, so he was granted an additional six percent interest on the previously unpaid pension. According to the court document, Sandusky will receive $4,900 per month as well as the subsequent interest.