Former Penn State official Schultz could lose pension if convicted of perjury
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Though former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky faces far more serious charges, it is another former university official, former vice president for finance Gary Schultz, who may be in the most financial jeopardy.
That's because Mr. Schultz, if convicted of perjuring himself before a state grand jury, could see the State Employees' Retirement System seek the forfeiture of his $27,558-a-month pension. State law lists perjury, with which Mr. Schultz is charged, as a crime that can trigger forfeiture of public pensions.
Violent crimes, such as the child sexual assaults with which Mr. Sandusky is charged, don't trigger pension forfeitures.
Mr. Sandusky and Mr. Schultz get pensions through state system for their work at Penn State. Mr. Sandusky served from 1969 to 1999, and his earnings records were not immediately available. Mr. Schultz worked at Penn State from 1970 through 2009, and his top earnings year was 2008, when he made $415,008.
Pension attorneys this week generally agreed that Mr. Sandusky's $4,908-per-month pension was probably not at risk under the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act. The act allows the pension-paying body to seek forfeiture upon conviction for a host of crimes, mostly involving public corruption and financial gain to the defendant.
Failure to report an incident of child abuse, with which former athletic director Tim Curley and Mr. Schultz also are charged, is not a crime listed in the act.
Mr. Schultz, though, "may be in a worse position [pension-wise], if convicted, than Sandusky," said Craig E. Frischman, an attorney who represents Pittsburgh's Municipal Pension Fund Board and has helped secure the forfeiture of pensions of several convicted employees.
Perjury is one of the crimes listed in the Forfeiture Act, and the argument could be made that Mr. Schultz testified in relation to an employment duty, Mr. Frischman said. Mr. Schultz's attorney, Thomas J. Farrell, could not be reached for comment.
A SERS spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the agency would seek forfeiture if one of the Penn State defendants is convicted.
First Published November 20, 2011 12:00 am