HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut and AP) – A nurse accused of abusing a patient at the Whiting psychiatric hospital has filed for retirement benefits.

The Hartford Courant reports that a lawyer for 49-year-old Mark Cusson says his client is allowed to receive a state pension, even if he is eventually convicted of the eight criminal counts.

Cusson, who was the hospital’s head nurse, qualifies for retirement because of his 21 years of service. He was paid a salary of $173,000 last year.

Cusson is one of 10 workers at the maximum-security hospital in Middletown who have been charged with the abuse of patient William Shehadi.

The state can challenge a pension based on felony-level financial crimes such as bribery, theft, fraud, or embezzlement. Other crimes are not covered, even if the offenses occur on the job.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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