"Extensive Disagreements"

Posted on February 23, 2012 

   

            This line appeared in a memorandum written, filed, and sworn to by Joseph Amendola, relating to the discovery in the case of Jerry Sandusky:

Page 32 of PSP [Pennsylvania State Police] Incident No. G07-1146135 describes an interview with Karen Arnold, a former Assistant District Attorney of Centre County, wherein she and former District Attorney Ray Gricar had extensive disagreements over a 1998 police investigation regarding the Defendant.1

            This comment was picked up by the Associated Press and carried across the country.  It wasn’t the only official comment either.  In the preliminary hearing for Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, there was what I thought was an unusual question.  It was directed to Thomas Harmon, the former director of the University Police by Thomas Farrell, Mr. Schultz’s attorney.

Farrell:  Did you have any communication with a Karen Arnold of the District Attorney’s Office?

Harmon:  I did not.2

            Ms. Arnold did indicate, in a letter to the CDT, that she had “a brief pre-Ray Gricar involvement with the ’98 situation.” 3  That would not be unusual.  At some point in 1998, Ms. Arnold was given the responsibility of handling all abuse cases for the office.4  It is a bit unusual that she did not handle the 1998 allegations against Mr. Sandusky.  Ms. Arnold indicated that it was the district attorney’s decision on if to prosecute.5  She is correct in that, and there has been absolutely no suggestion that this decision was made by anyone other than Mr. Gricar.

            There were three other points.  When this story broke, Ms. Arnold sent an e-mail to the CDT which, in the words of the reporter, “inferred what Amendola said was not true, but she didn’t elaborate.”  She did not specifically deny it.  Further, her email was quoted, stating, “If you want to know what I said on anything concerning the 1998 investigation, you will find that in my grand jury testimony.”6 She did indicate that she had given testimony before the grand jury.

            Ms. Arnold’s grand jury testimony is secret.  It will be released if she testifies.  She is free, however, to discuss it.  I can understand why she wouldn’t discuss it, as a potential witness.  Anything that she could say publicly could be used in the trial to impeach her testimony.  She did appear before the grand jury and her involvement in the Sandusky case, along with the only known involvement of the District Attorney’s Office under Mr. Gricar, was when the shower incident was referred in 1998.

            Mr. Amendola, in a sworn filing, indicated that there was a State Police report about the disagreements between Mr. Gricar and Ms. Arnold regarding the 1998 incident.  If he is not telling the truth, if he made it up and there is no report, Mr. Amendola, and not his client, would be in big trouble.  I believe him, because I doubt he’d want to be sanctioned, and possibly disbarred, over this point.  The word of “extensive” is more of a characterization, and open to interpretation.

            There appears to have been a disagreement over the handling of the case in 1998.  We know what decision Mr. Gricar made in 1998; he chose not to prosecute.  It is impossible for Ms. Arnold to have been arguing for greater leniency toward Mr. Sandusky, unless she suggested throwing him a testimonial dinner (and I don’t believe that).  The disagreement might have been administrative on who should have been handling the case.  It might have been on if further investigation, e.g. a grand jury, was necessary.  It might have been on if Mr. Sandusky should have been prosecution.  It may have been something else entirely and not "excessive."  We don’t know.

            There might however be a clue.  A few months ago, someone named JKA (I wonder who that could be) posted a comment on a blog:  “And on that point, one can only hope that on Tuesday next or at least at some time in the future that Inv. Schreffler, a truly top-notch investigator, is permitted to testify to the entirety of what occurred in 1998.”7  Just over a fortnight late, retired Detective Ronald Schreffler spoke, not in court, but to the press.  He said, “"At the very minimum, there was enough evidence for some charges, like corruption of minors."8  Mr. Schreffler does appear to be “a truly top notch investigator,” and wrote the 90 plus page report on the 1998 incident.

            Right now, we do know two things.  First, law enforcement was looking at Mr. Gricar’s decision in 1998 as part of the Sandusky investigation.  Second, the person who was the “go to” person on child abuse cases in the Centre County District Attorney’s Office was not “gone to,” in 1998.9

            Mr. Schreffler is clearly one of the people who did all he could to stop an alleged child molester in 1998.  He deserves praise for trying and ultimately succeeding.  It is too early to say it for sure, but another that tried might be Ms. Arnold.  If it turns out that she did, I will be one of the first to praise her for it.  In 1998, no matter what, she did not have the power to prosecute Mr. Sandusky.  Whether Ms. Arnold ultimately agreed or disagreed with what the District Attorney did in 1998, it was the District Attorney’s decision.  The buck stopped with Mr. Gricar.

 

End Notes

1 p. 8, http://www.co.centre.pa.us/media/upload/SANDUSKY%20MEMORANDUM%20IN%20SUPPORT%20OF%20DEFENDANTS%20MOTION%20TO%20COMPEL%20COMMONWEALTH

%20TO%20PROVIDE%20HIM%20WITH%20PRETRIAL%20DISCOVERY%20MATERIALS.pdf

 

2 p. 128,  http://www.dauphincounty.org/_files/3193.pdf

 

3 http://www.centredaily.com/2011/11/28/3001551/an-interesting-approach.html

 

4  http://arnoldforda.org/2.html

 

5 CDT 12/11/11 http://www.centredaily.com/2011/12/11/3016384/psu-chief-was-sanduskys-neighbor.html

 

6 CDT 2/8/12

http://www.centredaily.com/2012/02/08/3082313/amendola-seeks-evidence.html#wgt=rcntnews#storylink=cpy

 

7 http://www.centredaily.com/2011/12/01/3005573/where-the-buck-stopped.html#storylink=cpy

 

8  PPG 12/18/11 http://postgazette.com/pg/11352/1197680-454.stm#ixzz1nDS5RcGb

 

9 It is unclear of the date Ms. Arnold was given this assignment and “officially” given abuse cases.  Her expertise in the area was established by 1998, still making her the logical choice to handle the case.  She had been with the District Attorney’s Office for about a decade in 1998.

 

 

 

 

Centre Daily Times Ray Gricar Section:  http://www.centredaily.com/138/

Link to the Main Index for Sporadic Comments on Ray Gricar:  http://www.centredaily.com/2011/03/21/2597340/main-index-32011.html

E-mail J. J. in Phila at scorg@live.com

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