Special Reports

The Motive Problem

            I can remember back a whole eleven months ago talking with people on various message boards about the disappearance Ray Gricar.  People would ask why the former Centre County District Attorney would choose to willingly disappear.  After 11/5/11, and the release of the Sandusky grand jury report, nobody was asking.  Everyone was giving theories.

            One is that he was paid off by someone, possibly related to investigation in

1998.1  I heard from someone that actually had known Mr. Gricar slightly, who asked about the possibility.  Well, in looking as much as I can into his finances, and there is no evidence he was.  He seemed to less that his annual gross salary in the bank and his lifestyle was far from lavish.  There has been no evidence of massive transfers of funds from Penn State, the Second Mile, a group of football boosters, or Mr. Sandusky to a Cayman Islands’ account of “R. Gricar.”  He was not seen in Lewisburg with a big sack that had a dollar sign on the side.

            And then the “pedo ring.”2  There are theories that Mr. Gricar was gay and somehow involved with Mr. Sandusky.  Much of it is based on Mr. Gricar driving a Mini Cooper, or, as I like to call the theory, “Ray-was-gay-‘cause-he-drove-a-Mini.”3  The theory implies that all gay people are pedophiles.

            Well, we can just look at Mr. Sandusky to see that all pedophiles are not gay.  Throughout his life he never seems to have involved with an adult male.  In fact, when some of these children began to mature, he lost interest.  Over the years, I’ve had a chance to meet some gay people, though work, mutual friends, college and in one case, a relative.  They were not interested in young children sexually. 

We can also see a pattern where Mr. Sandusky gravitated to positions where he could have contact with prepubescent boys.  There has never been any suggestion that Mr. Gricar did.

            As for Mr. Gricar being gay, let’s look at the record.  In the 15 years prior to his disappearance, Mr. Gricar was in two marriages, asked a third woman to marry him, and was living with a fourth woman at the time of his disappearance.4  There are also other women mentioned, though we don’t know if Mr. Gricar’s relationship with them was Platonic or not.  That doesn’t exactly scream “RuPaul!”  Mr. Gricar was very heterosexual.

            While discussing potential motives, one frequent poster on a message, Big Cat, said, “In the case of RFG, the simplest hypothesis possible is he did nothing, he was ashamed, he walked away.”5  I might not use the word “ashamed” but something like that is possible.  Mr. Gricar could have heard the rumors about Mr. Sandusky from two incidents in the early 2000’s, the incident witnessed by the janitor, James Calhoun, and the incident witnessed by Mike McQueary.  Mr. Gricar obviously couldn’t have prosecuted based on rumors, but he could see that something could come out.  He might have even been worried civil liability, or didn’t want Sara Ganim or a CNN news crew parked in front of his house asking why he didn’t prosecute in 1998.

            That could be a broader motive.  Mr. Gricar might not have wanted to “the ex-DA,” having to field questions about what he did in prior cases, or even what he would do differently from the current DA.  Unlike the previous District Attorneys resident in Centre County, Mr. Gricar’s tenure was long, and he would be the person the media would go to.  He might not have wanted that, to be hounded by the press forever.

            Of course, if Mr. Gricar did walk away, the furthest thing from his mind on 4/15/05 might have been Jerry Sandusky.  One possible motive might have been seeing that his daughter collected his pension; my understanding is that if a sitting district attorney dies in office, the pension benefits are higher, a lump sum.  Had Mr. Gricar retired and then been hit by a bus 2007, she would potential get much less.  There might also be tax implications.6

            Mr. Gricar might have been worried about his, and his family’s, safety.  Over the more than three decades he was a prosecutor, Mr. Gricar put a lot of people in jail.  Somebody that he put in jail for ten years at 20 in 1996 would be getting out in 2006, at age 30, possibly very angry at Mr. Gricar.  Likewise, his family and friends might be very angry at Mr. Gricar.  So could a victim, or a victim’s family and friends, who that Mr. Gricar acted inappropriately.  Any one of these people could show up at Mr. Gricar’s front door, with a gun, hoping to “settle the score.”  Maybe Mr. Gricar wouldn’t be home, but his girlfriend and visiting daughter would be.  That aggrieved person could only show up at Mr. Gricar’s front door, if they knew where his front door was.  If the police cannot find Mr. Gricar, a potential murderer cannot.  Apparently, a number of people thought this was a possibility as the case unfolded.7

            There is also the possibility that Mr. Gricar simply found the idea of vanishing intriguing and decided to do it.  His professional life was just about over.  His daughter lived 2000 miles away and was an adult, starting on her own life.   He’d wanted to travel, and return to Europe.  He also had an interest in the case of Mel Wiley, a small town Ohio police chief that vanished and apparently started over.8  Some of Mr. Gricar’s closer friends think that is what he’s done, perhaps tooling around Europe, visiting historic battlefields.9

Most of these things, except possibly “He-drives-a-Mini-so-he’s-gay” scenario, are plausible reasons why Mr. Gricar would choose to walk away, but they all lack evidence, singularly or in combination.  The only good evidence would, however, be to find Mr. Gricar, and ask him; even then, we could only rely on what he would tell us. 

That is the “motive problem.”  In theory there could be a lot of reasons why Mr. Gricar could choose to walk away.  Even if there was solid evidence of one reason, e.g. he told people that he was worried about his security, or that he talked about wanting to leave everything behind and go to Europe, it would not prove that this is what he actually did.  The problem with looking for a motive, or motives, is that, even with solid evidence of a motive, that wouldn’t prove Mr. Gricar acted upon that motive. 

As I said after the Sandusky trial ended, “Since this was the topic before recent events, can we conclude that RFG might have some plausible reason to voluntarily leave?”10


End Notes


1 http://disappeared2005.blogspot.com/2011/11/hush-money_30.html




2 http://www.centredaily.com/2009/04/06/2396744/income-and-assets.html#storylink=misearch


3 http://www.faniq.com/blog/Does-Ray-Gricars-disappearance-point-to-Penn-State-cover-up-Blog-41990








4   http://www.centredaily.com/2012/05/24/3206908/the-woman.html




5 http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8085229&postcount=310


6 http://www.centredaily.com/2011/02/16/2525442/the-cad-factor.html


7 http://www.phillytrib.com/newsarticles/item/2327-cops-no-closer-to-finding-missing-d-a.html


8   http://www.centredaily.com/2009/02/22/2397093/wiley-and-gricar-the-timing.html


9 http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/04/ray_gricar_mystery.html


10   http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8082842&postcount=287



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