HARTFORD, Conn. — A nurse accused of abusing a patient at Connecticut’s only maximum-security psychiatric hospital has filed for retirement benefits.

Mark Cusson is one of 10 workers at the Whiting psychiatric hospital in Middletown who have been charged with the abuse of patient William Shehadi, including kicking him and throwing food at him.

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

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

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 they occurred on the job.

Information from: Hartford Courant, http://www.courant.com

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