Grand Juries, Gricar, and the District Attorney’s Office

Posted on May 15, 2011 

            Almost two years, I raised the point about how good it would be if a grand jury would be formed it investigate the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar.1  That wasn’t the first time; I did for the first time as a guest blogger on the Just Gricar blog by Mr. Bosak.  We’ve found out that there was a grand jury, formed in 2009, investigating something that allegedly happened in Centre County.  It wasn’t empaneled to investigate the Gricar disappearance.

            The case was that of former Penn State assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky.2  Now before going any further, I want to note that at this point in time, Mr. Sandusky has not been convicted of a crime, nor has he been charged with any crime.  The allegations are just that, allegations.  I take no position on if the allegations are true or if there should be charges.  I want here to look at the process used by the Centre County District Attorney’s Office in 2009, when the allegations were reported.

            Mr. Sandusky was a volunteer assistant football coach with a school in Clinton County (I don’t think that the alleged part).  While in Centre County, Mr. Sandusky allegedly touched a student from the Clinton County school in an inappropriate manner.  The student reported it to school authorities; the school authorities reported it to the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office.  The incidents occurred in Centre County, so the Clinton County District Attorney forwarded the case to the Centre County District Attorney’s Office, which in 2009 was headed by a by someone whose name has appeared numerous times in this blog, Michael T. Madeira.

            What did then District Attorney Madeira do according to the article?  He turned the case over to the State Attorney General’s Office.  The State Attorney General’s Office called a grand jury to investigate.  Where have we heard these things before?

            Mr. Madera claimed repeatedly that he could only call in the State Attorney General if there was a conflict of interest or if the District Attorney determined that he had inadequate resources3.  Mr. Sandusky never worked for the Centre County District Attorney’s Office.  While it is quite possible that the two men, both prominent in Centre County, knew each other, Mr. Madeira obviously knew Mr. Gricar; Mr. Gricar endorsed him in the 2005 Republican Primary, and Mr. Madeira publicly referred to as a “friend.”4  I can make a much stronger argument for a conflict of interest in having the Centre County District Attorney’s Office handle the Gricar case than in the Sandusky investigation.

            And then there is the resource aspect.  The investigators looking at Mr. Sandusky include the Pennsylvania State Police, part of the same group of investigators in the Gricar case.  Why would suddenly be a lack of resources in investigating Mr. Sandusky that was present in investigating the disappearance of Mr. Gricar?  The Centre County District Attorney’s Office has had the resources to investigate other cases of alleged inappropriate contact with children.

            Mr. Madeira, at the time of the “dueling press conferences,” was asked by my predecessor in the blogosphere, Mr. Bosak about calling a grand jury in the Gricar case.  While no longer online, Mr. Madeira said, "Grand juries are designed to get testimony from people who are not willing to cooperate.  That is not the case here."5

            In the Sandusky investigation, the alleged victims talked to the police, even back when Mr. Gricar was still in office.  Very possibly, someone was unwilling to cooperate, but the same can be said, potentially, about the Gricar case.

            In looking at these two cases, we can see just how low the priority the disappearance of the former Centre County District Attorney was.  Mr. Madeira deserved to be raked over the coals, rhetorically, for this.  And he was.  Mr. Madeira, however, is now, like Mr. Gricar, the former Centre County District Attorney.  He was booted from the position by the voters and has not been Centre County’s District Attorney for almost 16 months.

            The current District Attorney is Stacy Parks Miller.  While she has done more in the last 16 months to advance the Gricar investigation than Mr. Madeira had in the three years prior, there still has been no advancement of the case.  Under Ms. Parks Miller tenure, we may know more about where Mr. Gricar was on 4/14 and 4/15, but nothing after that.  Even some of the newly released information has been partial.  We know that there at least one witness that saw Mr. Gricar turning on Route 192, but we don’t have a time that it happened reported.  We know that Mr. Gricar generated a map to Lewisburg on his office computer, but we don’t yet have a timeframe of when.6

We don’t know what the police have checked, and ruled out.  I have huge questions about if Mr. Gricar, or one of his friends or coworkers, could have acquired a car, or provided transport, for him to leave Lewisburg.  It’s a question that could be answered by research of databases, and establishing a timeline on that “inner circle.”  I’ve been asking this question for four and a half years.  An answer of “no” would greatly reduce the chance that Mr. Gricar left voluntarily. We don’t know if the investigators have ever asked that question. 

            The investigation into the disappearance of Centre County’s former District Attorney sure looks nearly as glacial under the Parks Miller administration as it did under the Madeira administration.  The review panel she formed more than a year certainly is one vehicle for to carry the Gricar investigation forward, but Ms. Parks Miller vehicle certainly seems to be in park at this point.         There are other vehicles to move this case forward.

            The investigation into Mr. Sandusky shows that the District Attorney’s Office can do more in the Gricar case.  As Mr. Gricar was a long serving public official heading the office, the Centre County District Attorney’s Office should be doing more.  The Centre County District Attorney’s office has not done enough and is not doing more, whether the occupant’s name is “Madeira” or “Parks Miller.”


End Notes



3 This was mention in the letter from then Attorney General Corbett to Mr. Buehner, which is no longer on-line.



6  These were mentioned on the television program Disappeared.



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