Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro gave a newspaper interview today that criticized Bishop Alfred Schlert’s handling of the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Here is a link to the article in the Allentown Morning Call. The Diocese’s response to the newspaper is below:
“These statements are not accurate. Bishop Schlert has never moved a perpetrator. He has never participated in a cover-up. He has never investigated or discredited a victim or instructed anyone to do so.
His record, while serving as Vicar General, and for the past year as Bishop, clearly shows that he has taken strong and decisive action to deal with abusers and to keep children safe. In 2002, then-Monsignor Schlert played a key role in turning over all files on abusers to the five District Attorneys of the Diocese, the first Diocese in Pennsylvania to do so.
His recent actions on new allegations demonstrate his approach as Bishop: He immediately notifies law enforcement, he immediately removes priests from ministry, and the Diocese acts with transparency.
As the Attorney General has noted in the past, Bishop Schlert did nothing to oppose the Grand Jury report. This past May 23, Attorney General Shapiro said, “The position of Bishop Alfred Schlert of Allentown … to not mount any legal challenge that would silence the voices of victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is the right decision.”