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Sandusky likely to receive pension despite child sex abuse conviction

June 23, 2012: Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is shown in a booking photo.AP

Convicted child molester and former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is likely to keep his state pension of more than $4,900 per month despite being found guilty last week on 45 molestation charges, according to reports.

By law, the former Penn State assistant football coach would only forfeit his pension after being sentenced for crimes falling under Pennsylvania's Act 140. That list includes crimes such as extortion and bribery by a public employee are covered by that act, but not violent crimes or sexual abuse.

Nicholas Maiale, chairman of the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS), told the Harrisburg Patriot-News that he plans to seek a legal review of the board’s options in paying Sandusky's pension.

“I am a Penn Stater and I am a citizen of Pennsylvania, and we are all morally outraged about this case and what happened to those kids,” Maiale told the newspaper. 

Maiale conceded, however, that he's not optimistic that anything can be done to prevent Sandusky from receiving his pension funds.

“At this point, on the surface, it looks like a forfeiture won’t happen,” Maiale told the newspaper.

Sandusky, 68, reportedly receives a pension of about $59,000 a year for the rest of his or his wife Dottie's life. He retired in 1999 after his last game as the Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator and began receiving retirement payments in June, SERS officials said.Sandusky received a lump sum payment of $148,271.71 and gets a lifetime pension of $4,908.17 per month, SERS said. It provided the data after a Reuters request under the state's Right-To-Know Law.

The state's ability to rescind a public employee's pension has historically been aimed at public officials who use their office to enrich themselves. But Sandusky could still be sued in civil court by his victims, and prosecutors could seek heavy fines against him, which would have a similar effect of garnishing his retirement payouts.

A spokesman at the state attorney general's office declined to comment on the possibility of targeting those funds when contacted by FoxNews.com, saying only that prosecutors will make their sentencing recommendation prior to Sandusky's sentence. 

Sandusky keeping his pension "is really not as outrageous as it seems," Norman Stein, a professor of tax and benefits law at Philadelphia's Drexel University, told Reuters.

Stein said states typically limit pension forfeitures to acts such as fraud. Criminals who are not state employees also do not lose pensions when they are convicted.

A date for Sandusky's sentencing has not yet been set, but should come within 90 days of his conviction, according to procedure. Given his age and 45 counts of conviction for sexual abuse, Sandusky is likely to be spend the rest of his life in prison and could be ordered to pay hefty fines and court costs.

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