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Sandusky appeals forfeiture of $59,000 pension

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By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 5:32 p.m.

HARRISBURG — Jerry Sandusky appealed a decision to revoke his $59,000-a-year pension, arguing the law does not support the action by the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System.

Sandusky attorney Charles Benjamin's five-page letter to the system's board, dated Nov. 21, was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press through the state Right-to-Know Law.

Benjamin wrote that Sandusky's pension rights became vested in 1969 and amendments to state law did not change them. He argued that Sandusky, a Penn State assistant football coach who retired in 1999, was not a university employee when tougher forfeiture rules were passed in 2004.

“We trust that SERS, upon further reflection, will agree that no legal basis exists for forfeiture of Mr. Sandusky's vested retirement benefits,” Benjamin wrote. He did not return messages seeking comment.

The retirement system yanked Sandusky's pension after a judge in October sentenced him to 30 to 60 years in state prison for sexual abuse of 10 boys.

The retirement system said Sandusky's convictions for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault triggered forfeiture provisions of the state's Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act.

Benjamin said the pension board's argument that Sandusky was a “de facto” employee of Penn State in later years was “illogical and untrue.”

He said many of the payments made by the university to Sandusky after 2004 were smaller speaking fees and that tax records indicate Sandusky described himself after retirement either as self-employed or as a consultant to the charity for children he founded, The Second Mile.

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