A member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is proposing legislation that would strip Jerry Sandusky of his $58,898 pension.
Rep. Eugene DePasquale , D-York, who is running for auditor general, said he wants to disqualify public officials and employees who have been convicted of or have pleaded guilty to certain crimes against minors from receiving pension benefits.
DePasquale could not be reached for comment as of press time Wednesday.
Currently, a public official or employee can be disqualified from pension benefits for certain crimes, such as public corruption, but child sex abuse is not among these crimes.
If DePasquale's legislation passes, this would mean that Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State defensive coach who was recently convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse, would have his pension revoked. Sandusky receives his pension through the State Employee Retirement System.
"Both public officials and public employees are entrusted to act in the best interests of the citizens of Pennsylvania," DePasquale said in a news release. "Committing a sex crime that requires registration as a sex offender pursuant to the provisions of Megan's Law is a direct breach of public trust, and it is my opinion that those individuals have no right to a publicly funded pension afforded to law abiding public servants."
There are four other similar bills that have recently been introduced to the House.
State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff , R-Centre, said this piece of legislation is just another among the many that will be reviewed in August by the House Finance Committee, of which Benninghoff is the chair, and the State Government Committee when they review Pennsylvania's state pension system.
Benninghoff said that even though the Sandusky case may force legislators to hurry with creating laws, it is more important to take the time to make sure it is done properly.
"People have a tendency to jump to just another solution to an egregious problem," Benninghoff said. "When we're changing policy, we have to make sure it's a good decision for not only today and tomorrow but far unto the future -- we're not just going to ram it through because it sounds good."
Benninghoff also said one of the primary problems would be that if the legislation was passed, it could only retroactively take away Sandusky's benefits, which he said is a problem the courts may have to decide.
Benninghoff said the change could theoretically be done before Sandusky's sentencing, but it would be a challenge for lawmakers.
DePasquale acknowledged the challenges of retroactively changing state pension laws.
"While there are valid concerns about the constitutionality of a retroactive change to pension laws, I feel that Mr. Sandusky should not be rewarded with a public pension... after committing such heinous crimes," DePasquale said in a release.