Youth Protection

An Ongoing Commitment to Keeping Children Safe

The Diocese of Allentown uses vigilance, education and prevention, coupled with swift and decisive action in the event of an accusation, to prevent abuse and keep children safe.

Under our Zero-Tolerance Policy, in the event of an allegation of abuse, the Diocese notifies law enforcement, removes the priest from ministry, and addresses the issue transparently in cooperation with law enforcement.

Rigorous background checks are required for clergy, lay personnel and volunteers in parishes and ministries. We also have significantly enhanced the screening for aspiring priests, both before they enter the seminary and during their studies.

A Victim Assistance Coordinator helps victims and survivors of abuse with compassion, respect and dignity. We have reached out pastorally and professionally, not only to victims and survivors, but also to their families.

An Independent Review Board of highly qualified lay professionals advises the Bishop on matters of sexual abuse of minors.

A new cabinet-level leadership position has been created to further strengthen our programs to prevent abuse and keep children safe. The Secretary for Youth Protection and Catholic Human Services is responsible for overseeing and improving all aspects of abuse prevention and child safety.

Safe Environment Coordinators at every school and parish oversee compliance with the many programs designed to create the safest environment for minors.

Protecting God’s Children training has been provided to thousands of volunteers, priests, deacons, seminarians, religious, employees, school principals, teachers and others. This training explains how to recognize and prevent child abuse.

We are governed by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, put in place by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002. We have a Charter Compliance Officer to monitor all aspects of compliance with the norms of the Charter, and to act as a resource for questions regarding background checks and local compliance issues.

We require Mandated Reporter Training and offer the training both in-person and online throughout the Diocese.

Safe Environment Programs have been instituted for students and parents in our schools and in our parish religious education programs.

The abuse of children is terrible and sinful. The abuse inflicted by some members of the clergy was devastating and tragic for the victims and survivors, and for their families, and continues to cause pain and anger to this very day.

As a Church, we will learn from the Report of the Grand Jury, and from our on-going partnership with law enforcement, to further improve our protections for children and young people.


 Most Reverend Alfred A. Schlert, D.D., J.C.L.
 Bishop of Allentown


How to report abuse: 
If you know of incidents of abuse in the Church or elsewhere, please report it to the State Child Line at 1-800-932-0313 or to local law enforcement. To speak to the Diocese of Allentown’s Victim Assistance Coordinator, please call her direct line: 1-800-791-9209. The Diocese treats victims of clergy abuse and their families with compassion and dignity. 

Cómo denunciar un abuso: 
Si conoce algún incidente de abuso en la Iglesia o en otro lugar, por favor repórtelo llamando a la línea de State Child al 1-800-932-0313 o a la policía local. Para hablar con el coordinador de Asistencia a Víctimas de la Diócesis de Allentown, llame a su línea directa: 1-800-791-9209. La Diócesis trata a las víctimas del abuso del clero y a sus familias con compasión y dignidad.