Recently, an Allentown community activist and concerned citizen made an accusation that has now been partially confirmed by CeCe Gerlach. The concerned citizen alleged that CeCe met with a 16 year old boy, who had runaway from home, to do intake paperwork for her employer - Valley Youth House. But rather than take the child to Valley Youth House’s emergency shelter, or the Allentown Rescue Mission, or The Salvation Army, Ce-Ce decided to drop the boy off at tent city, an Allentown homeless encampment. Subsequently, over the course of two nights, the child was allegedly abused. The only reason the abuse stopped seems to be because an unhoused hero, and O.A.T.H.(Operation Address The Homeless) reached out to the community activist and sought real help for the child. That person then reached out to the Child’s mother, who had reported the child missing.
I reached out to Ce-Ce Gerlach and asked her to confirm or deny the allegation, prior to writing this article. She told me “Because it happened through my work, because of HIPAA stuff, I can’t say anything about it. But I didn’t know how old he was, so if people want to beat me up over that, they can.” I asked her to clarify that she dropped the child off, but is claiming she didn’t know his age- she said “yes”.
The most glaring problem with CeCe’s claim that she didn’t know the child was under 18 is that she met the boy through her work at Valley YOUTH House. And even if she didn’t know the child’s age when she was introduced to him, wouldn’t Valley Youth House’s intake paper work include determining the age of those seeking help?
Ce-Ce also violated her duties a mandated reporter. A mandated reporter means that by law, you have to report to Lehigh County when you come into contact with a child may be a victim of child abuse or at risk of becoming the victim of child abuse, which includes, among other things, being physically neglected. The PA Department of Human Services states that “The penalties for a mandated reporter who willfully fails to report child abuse range from a misdemeanor of second degree to a felony of the second degree.” And according the Child Protective Services Law of Pennsylvania, child abuse means intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act. Based solely on Ce-Ce Gerlach’s admission, this definition seems to fit as a description of her actions.
The allegations have been forwarded to state investigators who will be handling the case moving forward. The original whistle blower has been advised not to comment on this matter any further. When contacted for this story they were only willing to say that Ce-Ce Gerlach was indeed aware of the child’s age.
My own observations: Ce-Ce Gerlach, whose real name is actually Cecelia E. Gerlach, is currently in her first term as a member of Allentown City Council. She, along with Matt Tuerk and Julio Guridy, have challenged incumbent Mayor Ray O'Connell for the Democratic nomination. Tim Ramos is running unopposed for the Republican nod.
Under Pennsylvania law, a person supervising the welfare of a child has a duty of care, protection and support. As an intake worker for Valley Youth House, Gerlach had such a duty. It appears she may have violated that duty by knowingly endangering the welfare of that child. Dropping a 16 year-old boy off at a homeless encampment invited precisely what happened to him. If true, this conduct is criminal. If she failed to pass along his reports of neglect, that's also criminal.
I am unable to find any evidence that she is licensed in any capacity by the Pa. Board of Social Workers, not even as a provisional worker.
Perhaps, especially in the wake of our experience with Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski, she thinks criminal behavior is a prerequisite for Mayor in Allentown. She's the last thing Allentown needs.
Ce-Ce Gerlach is part of a mob that put 2 and 2 together and came up with 5 when Allentown police last summer were forced to deal with a drug addict who was staggering and puking in the street outside of Sacred Heart (St .Luke's Hospital) on 17th Street. He had just ingested seven bags of heroin and cocaine. His lengthy criminal record included possession and use of drug paraphernalia, possession of controlled substances, public drunkenness, retail theft and criminal trespass. Police officers had to put a spit mask on him before hospital personnel could treat him, but an out-of-context video made it appear that officers had pinned his neck with a knee. Later video showed nothing like that happened, but Gerlach was part of an angry mob that reacted that night and for weeks thereafter with chants of "Fuck the Police" and "Defund the Police."
Her disdain for the importance of public safety is also evident in her vote, without explanation, to reject 11 new police officers. She also voted against receiving a $110,000 grant for Allentown police with no strings attached. As Allentown business owner Nat Hyman put it, she was "making political statements with the tax payers’ money and, in the process, showing a wanton disregard for the best interests of our City, the safety of our citizens and common sense governance."
This disdain extends to Allentown's regular people as well. Why else would she dump a 16 year-old boy at a tent city? Or film and publish the aftermath of a tragic suicide before the victim's own family were even notified?
Defund the police? Gerlach has just demonstrated why they are so necessary. Had this boy been taken to them, they would have ensured that there would be no abuse. It is time for Allentown's voters to defund Ce-Ce Gerlach.