MEASURE WOULD STRIP PUBLIC OFFICIALS OF PENSIONS IF GUILTY OF SEXUAL OFFENSES

John Reitmeyer | May 31, 2019 | NJ Spotlight |

 

A tough bipartisan bill awaits the governor’s signature; it would take pensions from public workers or elected officials convicted of sexual offenses

New Jersey is on the verge of establishing a tough new financial penalty for public officials who commit a sexual assault or similar offense in the workplace.

A bipartisan bill that lawmakers sent to Gov. Phil Murphy yesterday would come down hard on any public worker or elected official who is convicted of sexual assault, sexual contact or lewdness by stripping them of a taxpayer-funded pension.

Such an approach generally has been used in New Jersey only to punish officials for offenses related to public corruption. But sponsors of the pension-forfeiture bill, which passed the Senate unanimously yesterday, have pointed to an increased need to discourage sexual misconduct in the workplace in the wake of the #MeToo social media campaign, which has raised awareness across the country.

The bill’s advancement out of the Legislature also comes just weeks after lawmakers held their last hearing on a high-profile case involving an allegation of rape against a former high-ranking member of Murphy’s administration. A final report from a special legislative committee that probed the case is still pending.

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