The Diocese of Allentown issued the following statement on Sept. 12, in response to a lawsuit filed in Lehigh County Court:

Bishop Schlert has always viewed victims as sincere, dignified, and extremely courageous for coming forward. He has always treated them with respect, and always will. For those who suggest otherwise, nothing could be further from the truth.

With regard to the allegations in this lawsuit, the Diocese did not disclose the information publicly. We provided it to the Grand Jury as a result of a subpoena. In fact, it was the Grand Jury Report that made this information public. 

The Diocese did not solicit this information. The Diocese never investigated the victim or attempted to discredit her. The Diocese never acted on the unsolicited information. In fact, after the Diocese met with the victim in 2002, the Diocese removed the priest from ministry. Law enforcement already was aware of the allegation.

As a Diocese, we treat victims with compassion, respect and dignity. We would never direct anyone to do otherwise.