Okay, the case of disappearance of Ray Gricar is still a dark story, one which grew darker when it became intertwined that Central Pennsylvania Gothic horror story of Jerry Sandusky. Even without the Penn State scandal, it is a possible story of murder or suicide, which keeps it grim. There are however some bright spots, the anniversaries of which are March 31st.
First, March 31st is the fourth anniversary of a chapter in this story that has been closed. That is the “review panel” established by incumbent Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller.1 In terms of if this effort solved the case, it failed. We do not have an answer to the question, “What happened to former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar?” It did however succeed in bringing more information to light. It has been through a combination of things, police releasing the information on programs like Disappeared,2 good investigate journalism,3 and information on Mr. Gricar’s finances released in conjunction with his estate.4 We have learned more about the disappearance of Mr. Gricar in the last four years than did in the prior four years. That is a very bright side.
Second, March 31st is the third anniversary of the first story on the Sandusky investigation.5 There is a very big bright side to the Sandusky scandal. Yes, it does indeed raise questions about Mr. Gricar’s conduct in that case, and there are more questions as time passes. The bright side is, people are asking these questions. There is more publicity, and more interest.
This story spread, first from the Patriot-News on 11/4/116, which mentioned Mr. Gricar’s role in the 1998 investigation, to stories that focused directly on Mr. Gricar in Central Pennsylvania newspapers, and eventually to the New York Times7, and the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom8. Finally it ended in a “Dateline” story.9 All of this may help jog someone’s memory about the case, though it might yield false leads as well.
If you are one of those people who care about Mr. Gricar’s legacy more than what happened to him, it is a disaster. If you more concerned about what happened to him than what people might think about him, you saw this as to exposing his strange disappearance to a global audience, which might be able to help solve this mystery. There is no pretense that this publicity was good. Many people, unfamiliar with Mr. Gricar’s overall record, only know him as, “The guy who didn’t prosecute Jerry Sandusky.” That is both inaccurate and unfair.10 Even this negative impression, however, is arguably better than no impression at all. Even the guy who hopes that Mr. Gricar “rots in Hell,”11 has at least heard of him. That is the bright side. More people know who he is and that he is missing. If you don’t know who Ray Gricar is, not only will you not love him or hate him, but you won’t be asking what happened to him.
March 31st does mark two anniversaries in the Gricar, one which led to greater public disclosure and one that led greater public exposure. That is a bright side in an otherwise dark case.
4 These are being discussed in detail online and a series is planned on Mr. Gricar’s financial situation.
10 There are two blogs, written both before and after the Sandusky trial, which recount Mr. Gricar’s overall very strong record as District Attorney here:
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