Jerry Sandusky may be a convicted serial child molester, but he's a rich convicted serial child molester.
Sandusky will receive a check for $211,000 from Pennsylvania's state pension system after a court ruled on Nov. 13 that the state illegally halted retirement benefits when the former Penn State assistant football coach was sentenced for child molestation, The Associated Press reported on Dec. 23.
The 71-year-old Sandusky is serving up to 60 years in prison after a jury convicted him on 45 counts related to child sexual abuse in 2012. Sandusky, a long-time assistant to well-known Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, sexually abused 10 boys during his 15 years as an assistant, and used his own charity, Sandusky's Second Mile, to get close to minors and gain their trust.
The resulting scandal was disastrous for Penn State, which has paid $93 million in claims to Sandusky's victims, AP reported. The school was also fined $60 million by the NCAA, had 13 years of football wins vacated, and its football program was banned from postseason participation for four years.
In 2014, the NCAA reversed the postseason ban and restored the victories to the school's record, but long-term damage had been done to the school's reputation and the football program's prestige because of Sandusky's actions.
The court's decision in favor of Sandusky when it comes to benefits hinged on a technicality: When the pension system stopped making the payments, it cited the state's Pension Forfeiture Act, according to AP. The act allows the pension system to revoke benefits for state employees convicted of "crimes related to public office or public employment."
But Penn State, despite its name and status as "state-related," remains a privately owned institution. Despite that, some of the university's employees are paid retirement benefits under the state's pension system.
As a result, Sandusky wasn't technically a state employee, and the state pension fund could not use the Pension Forfeiture Act to halt his retirement benefits, AP reported.
"The board conflated the requirements that Mr. Sandusky engage in 'work relating to' PSU and that he engage in that work 'for' PSU," Judge Dan Pellegrini wrote in his decision. "Mr. Sandusky's performance of services that benefited PSU does not render him a PSU employee."