The victims of Jerry Sandusky, a monster that preyed on little boys, are the true victims of this case. Their pain is by far the greatest of anyone else in Central Pennsylvania, or those of us that watched us from afar. I will not even attempt a Clintonesque, “I feel your pain,” statement. I do feel pain, but if you are reading this, my pain is nowhere near yours. If you are reading this, I am truly sorry for that and I hope you can heal.
I am a Penn Stater, an alumnus of the central institution is this scandal of perversion and alleged cover-up. I’m from West Central Pennsylvania, where my family had provably lived for nearly 200 years prior to my own exit; it might have there since the last Ice Age. I grew up there, went to high school there, was elected to local office there, and buried my parents there. It wasn’t just a drive through; those are ties, emotionally, to the area and my childhood.
On top of that, I do this blog on a missing person, who, inexplicably and uncharacteristically, seemingly did nothing to stop this scandal when he had the chance. While there is a lot more to the record of Ray Gricar, the missing former District Attorney, and many good and positive things that I’ve chronicled in the past, he will be known, forever, as the person that didn’t prosecute Jerry Sandusky in 1998.1 I had more than 20 news alerts in the week June 10 telling me so, and I didn’t generate any of them.
The Thomas Paine quote, “These are times that try men’s soul,” comes to mind. It was brought home by the closing argument of the prosecutor, Joseph McGettigan III, that Mr. Sandusky had taken “pieces of ten souls,” from his victims. For those of us with ties to the area, especially childhood ties to this area, we knew what Mr. McGettigan was saying. Our souls were not taken, but we could imagine the tentacles of the monster reaching out for us.
I’ve called this “Central Pennsylvania Gothic,” a title to describe this.3 Some people might have thought it was humorous or flippant. It was, for me, only short hand for the disgust, revolt, and horror that I felt since reading the grand jury presentment. There is nothing humorous or flippant about the horrors I wrote about; they only got worse after I wrote it.
Today at least, there was a change, a very welcome one. Sandusky was found guilty by a jury on 45 counts. That jury of twelve had seven people associated with the University on it; the juror, or someone in the juror’s family either went there, worked there, or had a family member that did. There was a culture of silence, secrecy, and perverse loyalty to an alma mater, yes my alma mater, that, if it didn’t breed the monster, at least let it flourish. It was truly heartening to see that in Penn State country, with a jury with Penn State ties, looked at the evidence and convicted a former Penn State icon. They put right ahead of blue and white.
There are questions, but we might get some answers. Yes, Sandusky is serial pedophile that preyed on children for decades, beyond a reasonable doubt. How did that happened? Who enabled him? We may get an answer.
People ask questions about Mr. Gricar as well. Mine has always been, what happened to Ray Gricar? Others asked where is Ray Gricar. Another one now is, where was Ray Gricar, in 1998? Are these things connected? These are questions for which I have no answers.
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 email@example.com