About ten days ago, I diverged a bit from the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar. I wrote about the investigation US Army Sergeant Patrick S. Rust, whose body was discovered outside of Watertown, NY in 2007. 1 I am happy to report that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now actively investigating that case.
The FBI are looking at a possible civil rights violation that resulted in Sgt. Rust’s death. They are considered the possibility that Sgt. Rust was gay and may have been targeted because of that.2
In my previous blog of the Rust case, I didn’t write about that. I wasn’t focusing too much on the motive why someone might want to kill him, especially since his death might not have been murder. But I have to admit, I was uncomfortable in writing about it.
Sgt. Rust was a combat veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraq, where he seemed to have an honorable record; he was twice decorated for his service. In 2007, being openly gay would be sufficient grounds for being discharged from the military, in spite of that record. The report from the Army indicated that he may have followed “an alternative lifestyle.”
Never miss a local story.
The picture of Sgt. Rust on the night he disappeared, as noted in the previous blog, is not appealing. He was intoxicated (it is unclear of if it alcohol or drugs). He spoke about buying cocaine.3 The bar that Sgt. Rust was at the night he disappeared, while not an exclusively gay bar, was considered to be “gay friendly.” He spoke to friends about wanting to go a gay bar in Syracuse.4
Do I really want to paint a picture of Sgt. Rust, a decorated combat veteran, as a gay drug user? No. I don’t think the police or the FBI really want to either. However, it might be very relevant to what happened to Sgt. Rust, especially if he was murdered. It might explain what happened to him; it could lead to the arrest of someone criminally responsible for his death. The one “person of interest” in the case is described by his former wife as “very homophobic.”3
That is the lesson for the Gricar case. No, I’m not planning to start supporting the “Ray is gay because he drives a Mini” crowd. I do support theories to the extent they have evidence; that one doesn’t have any.
One thing that I draw some criticism from a few in the chattering class is even mentioning the possibility that Mr. Gricar might have been with a woman on the weekend he disappeared. Why do I talk about it? Well, because there some evidence that he might have been with a woman on the weekend he disappeared. It is not overwhelming compelling, but it is still there. The high probability that Mr. Gricar was planning to drive to Lewisburg, the report that he was seen with the now famous “Mystery Woman” in Lewisburg, the report that he was in Lewisburg the next day, all support, but do not prove, the theory that Mr. Gricar was with someone in Lewisburg, and possibly spent the night with that someone.
Do I really want to paint a picture that Mr. Gricar was with a woman overnight in Lewisburg? No, no more than I want to see Sgt. Rust depicted in an unfavorable light. However, it might be very relevant to what happened to Mr. Gricar, especially if he was murdered; it could lead to the arrest of someone criminally responsible for his death.
How the story appears in the papers is one thing; justice is another. That is another lesson from the Rust case.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org