Monsignor Edward Sacks has been cleared by an independent investigation and has returned to his role as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Bethlehem Township.
Independent investigators determined that no abuse of any kind occurred, and that it was an erroneous allegation. The person who made the allegation has since said the accusation was made in error. The alleged victim confirmed that he was not abused by any member of the clergy.
Under the Diocese’s Zero-Tolerance Policy, Bishop Alfred Schlert immediately removed Monsignor Sacks from ministry on September 14, 2018, and the Diocese notified the Berks County District Attorney’s office. Law enforcement reviewed the allegation and decided not to pursue it because of the date of the alleged abuse.
The Diocese, under its long-standing protocol in addressing allegations of abuse, then turned to an independent firm to investigate the allegation. The firm, based outside the Diocese, employs former FBI agents, all of whom are trained investigators with decades of experience with the agency.
The details of the investigation were presented to the Independent Review Board, which made the unanimous recommendation to Bishop Schlert to restore Monsignor Sacks to ministry. The Independent Review Board is made up of experts not employed by the Diocese, including a family doctor with expertise in examining children who have been sexually abused, a county Children and Youth Services caseworker, a federal probation officer and the director of the Bureau of Offender Reentry of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.
Anyone who knows of incidents of abuse, in the Church or elsewhere, should report it to the State Child Line at 1-800-932-0313, the State Attorney General’s hotline at 1-888-538-8541 or to local law enforcement.