Sandusky tries to get PSU pension back

HARRISBURG – A handcuffed Jerry Sandusky testified by video link for nearly three hours Tuesday as Pennsylvania’s public pension agency considered his request to restore retirement benefits canceled because of his child molestation conviction.

Testimony from the former Penn State assistant football coach focused on circumstances surrounding his retirement from the university, as well as the links between the school and the charity for troubled youth he founded that paid him as a consultant after he left Penn State.

Speaking from inside the western Pennsylvania prison where he is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence, Sandusky described how he retired from Penn State in mid-1999 to take advantage of an early retirement incentive and then was immediately rehired on a temporary basis to coach one last season.

It may be a few months before Sandusky learns whether a hearing officer will recommend the State Employees’ Retirement Board reverse the decision that was made the day Sandusky was sentenced in October 2012. The decision stopped his $4,900-a-month payments and also disqualified his wife Dottie – who attended the Tuesday hearing – from collecting benefits.

Sandusky said that after the 1999 season, he never received another paycheck or W-2 tax form from Penn State, never held himself out to be a Penn State employee and was even given a retirement party.

At issue is whether he could be considered a school employee about a decade later, when prosecutors said he committed sex crimes, which were deemed to meet the state’s standards for forfeiture.

Sandusky disputed documents that claim he received dozens of payments from Penn State after 1999.

In its October 2012 letter to Sandusky announcing his pension had been revoked, SERS said Sandusky “received no fewer than 71 separate payments” from Penn State between 2000 and 2008 for travel, meals, lodging, camps, speaking fees and other activities.

“I don’t know the exact number for sure,” Sandusky testified Tuesday. “But I know it was in the neighborhood of three. It was far from 71.”