Jerry Sandusky testified for over two hours Tuesday morning in an effort to keep his roughly $4,900-a-month pension.
The State Employees Retirement System deemed it forfeited in October 2012, when a judge sentenced him to 30 to 60 years in state prison for sexually assaulting boys.
Sandusky’s attorney, Chuck Benjamin, focused on two contracts, one which Sandusky signed in 1969 when he was hired to coach at Penn State and the other in 1999, when he retired.
Benajmin asked, “So, is it fair to say the only contracts you ever had with Penn State were the employment contract from 1969 and the retirement contract from 1999?”
Sandusky replied, “That is correct.” Sandusky testified via video connection from prison. His wife, Dottie, attended the hearing in person.
Act 140, passed in 1978, lists several crimes which a state employee could commit that would result in a pension being forfeited. The Legislature updated that list in 2004 to include indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Sandusky was found guilty of both during his trial.
His lawyer, Benjamin, argues Act 140 should not apply because it was passed after he began to be vested in the system.
Though Sandusky retired in 1999, lawyers for the retirement system argue he still served as a de facto employee through at least the end of 2008.
During Tuesday’s hearing, lawyer Steven Bizar went into the details of Sandsuky’s retirement agreement and his role at The Second Mile and ongoing affiliation with Penn State.
“The retirement is not really a retirement,” Bizar said. “You suggest that you’re negotiating a breakup with Penn State but you’re asking for a title and a continued relationship.”
Bizar asked Sandsuky about his desire at the time to maintain a “long-term relationship” with Penn State after his retirement. Sandusky said, “Long term relationship is friendships. It’s connections.” He argued he didn’t portray himself as an employee of Penn State after his retirement.
Both sides wanted to call Tim Curley and Gary Schultz to testify. Both men were administrators at the university at the time and are accused of trying to cover up Sandusky’s sex crimes. The men invoked their 5th Amendment rights and did not testify Tuesday.
Dottie Sandusky did not testify or comment after the hearing.
The hearing examiner will make a recommendation to the board overseeing the retirement system. If Sandusky does not agree with that decision, he can appeal further to Commonwealth Court.