IN RE: FORTIETH STATEWIDE INVESTIGATING GRAND JURY
for Stay of Release of Report No. 1
20, 2018, this Court issued an Order staying the public
release of Report No. 1 of the 40th Statewide Investigating
Grand Jury, pending further order of the Court. This opinion
is in support of that Order.
40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury was convened in 2016
per the Investigating Grand Jury Act. Under 42 Pa.C.S. §4550,
the Attorney General initiated confidential grand jury
proceedings to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse
by individuals associated with the Roman Catholic Church,
including several Pennsylvania dioceses, and failure to make
mandatory reports, acts endangering the welfare of children,
and obstruction of justice by church officials, local public
officials, and community leaders. See, e.g., In
re 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, No. 571 M.D.
2016, slip op. at 9 (C.P. Allegheny June 5, 2018).
As required by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, these
proceedings were conducted under the umbrella of secrecy
pertaining to investigating grand jury proceedings, subject
to the discretion of the supervising judge to permit the
public release of information. See 42 Pa.C.S.
to the expiration of its term, the 40th Statewide
Investigating Grand Jury submitted a report of the above
investigation to its supervising judge, the Honorable Norman
A. Krumenacker, III. See 42 Pa.C.S. §4552. This
report is denominated "Report No. 1," and its
submission triggered a statutory procedure pertaining to such
reports. See id. By law, the supervising judge was
required to examine the report and the confidential record of
the proceedings and to issue an order accepting and filing
the report as a matter of public record "if the report
is based upon facts received in the course of an
investigation authorized by [the Investigating Grand Jury
Act] and is supported by the preponderance of the
evidence." Id. §4552(b).
the statutory scheme allocates discretion to the supervising
judge to permit the submission of responses by individuals
who are not charged with any crime, but about whom a report
is critical. See id. §4552(e). Again, in the
discretion of the supervising judge, such responses may be
incorporated into the report and also released publicly.
supervising judge accepted the grand jury's Report No. 1
and has signaled his intention to file the report publicly.
Furthermore, the supervising judge has found that this report
may be construed as critical of certain unindicted
individuals, and he has permitted living individuals so named
or implicated to submit responses to material allegations in
the report. The supervising judge then devised a procedure to
afford notice to these individuals, allowing them until June
22, 2018, to respond.
individuals have lodged challenges to Report No. 1 with the
supervising judge, generally asserting a denial of
constitutional rights. Although the claims evidently differed
in particulars to some degree, they shared certain key
commonalities. Most, if not all, of the petitioners alleged
that they are named or identified in Report No. 1 in a way
that unconstitutionally infringes on their right to
reputation and denies them due process based upon the lack of
a pre-deprivation hearing and/or an opportunity to be heard
by the grand jury. See Pa. Const. art. I,
§§1, 11. A number of the petitioners asserted that
they were not aware of, or allowed to appear at, the
proceedings before the grand jury.
opinion and order of June 5, 2018, the supervising judge
denied a series of motions seeking pre-deprivation hearings.
That decision was released to the public and is
self-explanatory. See In re 40th Statewide Investigating
Grand Jury, No. 571 M.D. 2016, slip op. at 9
(C.P. Allegheny June 5, 2018). Otherwise, the supervising
judge has generally maintained the grand jury seal to ensure
that identifying details are not disclosed prematurely.
supervising judge has certified his orders in those and other
challenges for immediate appeal, in recognition of the
existence of controlling questions of law over which there
are substantial grounds for a difference of opinion.
See 42 Pa.C.S. §702(b). Despite this
certification, the supervising judge did not temporarily halt
the release of Report No. 1. Rather, and although responses
are not due before him until June 22, 2018, he has indicated
that the report would be published as early as June 23, 2018.
individuals have filed multiple petitions for review, along
with emergency applications for stay, in this Court. At some
dockets, the Office of Attorney General advised that "a
temporary stay would be appropriate so that this Court can
thoughtfully and dutifully consider the petition for review
and the [forthcoming] answer thereto[.]" In later
submissions, the Office of Attorney General stated it did not
oppose "a brief stay of a matter of days, consistent
with the emergency nature of these proceedings." The
Office of Attorney General requested, however, that any such
stay be sufficiently limited as to permit release of the
report in the week following receipt of the responses.
the petitions for review disclose aspects of Report No. 1.
Nevertheless, the report has not yet been presented to this
Court in its entirety.
Court is cognizant that Report No. 1 is a matter of great
public interest. The Court has found, however, that a
temporary stay is appropriate for the following reasons:
1) the release of Report No. 1 on June 23, 2018 -- while
affected individuals are permitted to file responses through
June 22, 2018 -- provides inadequate ...