Pennsylvania pension system says it will give Sandusky $211K

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's state government pension system will send Jerry Sandusky a $211,000 check next week to cover payments going back to when it illegally stopped his retirement benefits after the former Penn State assistant football coach was sentenced for child molestation, according to a letter obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The State Employees' Retirement System told Sandusky lawyer Richard Beran last week that it will mail the check Monday and that Sandusky's $4,900 monthly benefits will resume in January.

A call seeking comment from Beran on Wednesday was not immediately returned.

A court ruled on Nov. 13 that the pension system was wrong to classify Sandusky as a university employee at the time of the sexual abuse crimes that were the basis of his pension forfeiture. It ordered the retroactive payments, along with 6 percent interest, and the pension system did not appeal.

Sandusky, 71, is serving a lengthy prison term after being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys. He maintains his innocence and is appealing.

Although Penn State is not a state-owned university, employees such as Sandusky, retired after decades as a defensive coordinator, are allowed to participate in the pension system. He collected a $148,000 lump sum payment upon retiring in 1999.

The pension system halted his monthly payments the day he was sentenced in October 2012, citing a provision of the state's Pension Forfeiture Act that applies to "crimes related to public office or public employment." He was convicted of indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, but the court ruled he was not an employee when those crimes occurred.

"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. "Mr. Sandusky's performance of services that benefited PSU does not render him a PSU employee."

Penn State disclosed last month that it has paid 32 claims related to Sandusky, worth a total of $93 million.

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