Pennsylvanians can add pension rules to the list of things needing a second look in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case.
Sandusky was convicted June 22 of 45 charges related to the sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period.
The case has sent shockwaves across the commonwealth. And more reverberations could be coming as a court decides whether two then-Penn State administrators lied to a grand jury and failed to report the alleged abuse to child welfare authorities.
Sandusky, 68, is expected to be sentenced in September. Given his age, he is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Now questions are being asked about whether he should be able to keep his $58,898 annual pension.
Not surprisingly, many people object to having a convicted child molester receive taxpayer-funded pension payments while behind bars. And we agree.
The trouble is the state only has the right to seize taxpayer-funded pension payments upon conviction of 22 crimes, mostly related to a person's work in a public capacity. A number of state lawmakers who have been convicted of felonies related to misuse of state employees or resources for campaign purposes have been their pensions revoked.
But it remains to be seen if Sandusky's crimes fit the current criteria to allow forfeiture of the pension that he earned during his 30 years of coaching.
The State Employees' Retirement System said any decision about whether Sandusky will lose his pension won't come until after he is sentenced.
However, Nicholas Maiale, SERS board chairman, told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg that he isn't optimistic that his agency will be able to revoke Sandusky's pension, despite the moral outrage the case evokes.
Clearly, this is an issue that the Legislature needs to address. Taxpayers should not have to subsidize the pensions of convicted sexual offenders, especially when the victims are children.
One bill proposed by a Philadelphia Democrat would allow the state to revoke the taxpayer-provided pension of anyone committing a crime that requires registration under Megan's Law. That sounds like a reasonable start.
The Sandusky case has provoked widespread revulsion. Because of rules covering retroactive punishment, regrettably, there might not be anything Pennsylvania can do to seize Sandusky's pension.
But the public's outrage over this should push legislators to act to close this loophole before the November elections.