In writing about the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar, I’ve often mentioned the then incumbent district attorney, Michael T. Madeira. I was very critical of him, for his conduct involving the investigation, and frankly would not have voted for his reelection in 2009. Today, however, he gets a bit of praise from me.
Mr. Madeira, first, sent the Sandusky case to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s (PAG) Office. He did so because of the appearance of a conflict of interest. Mr. Madeira’s wife had a relative that was close to Mr. Sandusky. Mr. Madeira was not close to his relative; I’m not sure if his wife was close to this relative. Mr. Madeira decided that it would not look good, and used the statute regarding conflicts of interest to send the case to the PAG.1 That was the right choice and, with 20/20 hindsight, an exceptionally good one.
Mr. Madeira, second, released the nature of the conflict of interest. The official involvement of the former district attorney, Ray Gricar, in this case raised questions; he has vanished and cannot explain why he took actions in 1998. I know the thought ran through my mind on if this was a conflict of interest involving Mr. Gricar.
Over the last six years, there was much discussion about turning the Gricar case over to PAG Office. In 2009, in response to the calls to turn the over to the PAG, his Office said:
There are two sections which pertain to the matter at hand: First, §732-205(3) states that I may conduct a prosecution upon the request of a district attorney who lacks the resources to conduct an adequate criminal investigation or prosecution, or upon the request of a district attorney who represents that there is potential for an actual or apparent conflict of interest on the part of the district attorney or his office. 2
Even family spokesman Tony Gricar noted it in 2005, saying:
"I hate to use the term conflict of interest, but it best applies. You've got everyone so close to the situation, from co-workers to historical connections. There should be a third party that has no solid connection."
When you hear the words “conflict of interest” and “Ray Gricar,” this is the context in which you have heard it for the last 6 years. Another context was not readily apparent.
That was not the context that Mr. Madeira intended, and today, he cleared the air. I’m happy very happy that he did. That was the right move and Mr. Madeira deserves a huge amount of credit for doing so. Thank you!
2 Letter from Hon. Tom Corbett to Hon. Robert W. Buehner, Jr., July 2, 2008
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