Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Lehigh County DA Charges Gerlach

The Morning Call and other local news outlets have finally opened their increasingly small mouths to report about Allentown City Council member Ce-Ce Gerlach and her decision to drop a minor off at a tent city. They had no choice. She was charged yesterday with both child endangerment (a first degree misdemeanor) and failure to report suspected child abuse (a second degree misdemeanor).

A first degree misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison as well as a $10,000 fine. A second degree misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison as well as a $5,000 fine.  

At the time of the offense, Gerlach was a caseworker at Valley Youth House. As originally reported by James Whitney at this blog, Gerlach met with a 16 yo runaway who needed a place to stay. Rather than take him to any of a number of shelters, including one operated by her own employer, she dumped him off at a tent city. There he was subjected to two nights of sexual abuse, thanks to Gerlach, 

Whitney contacted Gerlach, who admitted to him that she did drop this teen off at a tent city. She denied she knew he was underage, "so if people want to beat me up for that, they can."

Looks like they have. In addition to these criminal charges, Gerlach finished last in a four-way Mayoral contest on May 18. 

The charges were filed by Lehigh County Detective Gregg M Dietz, who conducted a quite thorough investigation detailed in The Morning Call account.  Significantly, Gerlach's claim she was unaware ofthe boy's age is bellied by her own paperwork. 

Gerlach was preliminarily arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Rashid Santiago. He set bail at $2,500 unsecured. A preliminary hearing, in which the Commonwealth must present prima facia evidence that Gerlach committed a crime, is currently scheduled for August 6 before Magisterial District Judge Karen Devine.  

Gerlach is represented by prominent Allentown criminal defense attorney Ed Angelo. Through him she has denied wrongdoing and refuses "to allow these allegations to distract me from my service to the people of Allentown." 

Service like that Allentown does not need. 

Gerlach sounds eerily similar to another so-called public servant who had to be dragged out of office, kicking and screaming. Former Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski is currently serving a 15-year sentence for his service. 

Though this blog and fellow blogger Michael Molovinsky had Fed Ed's number in 2007,  The Morning Call refused to take a serious look at his hijinks until the Feds were literally at his door. 

This pattern continued with Gerlach. The paper and other local news sources refused to write a word even though she herself admitted she dropped this boy off at a tent city. That refusal continued when I told you that the Lehigh County District Attorney was investigating. It was a story you needed to hear. 

I suspect this refusal was politically motivated. I saw no hesitation when the paper targeted Congressional candidate Marty Nothstein with a decades old rumor. 

Let's not forget we are dealing with child abuse, a topic far more important than politics. The local media let you down when it refused to cover this story. This reluctance to cast a critical eye toward child caregivers is how little girls like Grace Packer end up dead. Valley Youth House kept Gerlach on their staff until May 10, after the Lehigh County DA began sniffing around.

That's another story.  

Previous stories:

Whitney: Allentown Mayoral Candidate Ce-Ce Gerlach Exposes Minor to Alleged Sexual Abuse

Lehigh County DA Investigating Ce-Ce Gerlach Allegations

Politics, Money and Power: All in the Family for the Harringtons

54 comments:

Doc Rock said...

What else would you expect from a newspaper that now features front-page stories written by undergraduate interns?

Anonymous said...

I had forgotten all about Fed Ed. Out of sight, out of mind. Good riddance. Now it will take a few hours to forget again.

Anonymous said...

Shame on our "local" papers for ignoring this. I hope that her serious lack of judgment that rises to a criminal level does not reflect the climate at our local non profit and government funded childcare agencies. Its only a misdemeanor, HaH!

Bernie O'Hare said...

The Grace Packer story was exposed by a tough reporter from NBC, Deanna Durante, while the local media was asleep at the switch. I am still quite concerned about what goes on at these nonprofits. Why did it take Valley Youth House until May 10 to fire Gerlach over an incident that occurred the previous July?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't know if the hacks at MC covered this story because I gave up on them during their cover up of Pawlowski's crimes until he was searched. The were co-conspirators. And they want people to pay them for their junior high dictation of their masters' statements. Advertise in that shitful rag, and you get puff pieces from the dregs who are still clinging to jobs, even after most of the rats jumped ship a while ago. That's what's left. They don't even have a building. They're Twitter trolls from their basements. They're not anything close to journalists.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Local Allentown daily has front page story today.
Good Work on your part.
This young man's life will never be the same.

Anonymous said...

She is a looker just like mezzalooney. Honey your hair and nightie place you in the first place category of a HOT Mess!

Anonymous said...

So, when does she do her time?

Anonymous said...

Local news media is a joke.

Print media stays alive with inflated, but mandatory advertising fees imposed on those who must post obituaries and municipalities required to post public notices. The newspaper lobbyists continue to crush any attempt at new legislation to allow use of the internet for these mandatory notices.

They are in such fear of being sued for investigating any story of worth they sit on their hands until law enforcement gets involved.

All the local bloggers should create a website of their own, each contributing posts and responsible for their own submissions. It would save me time in having to jump around to all your blogs to see what is really going on in various parts of the valley.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:43, She has no record and will be eligible for ARD. She gets that only if she admits to her conduct. As a condition of ARD, my guess is that the DA will want her to resign her position on City Council.

Anonymous said...

The failing Morning Call never understood it was LOCAL news and information that gave its product any real value. Most of what’s published is Associated Press items, reprints from New York Times and Washington Post, then word for word press releases from activists. Who needs any more of that crap?

No doubt, Ce-Ce has damaged her image, but I don’t expect any meaningful legal penalty for her action. She’ll be covered by the old ‘No intent to do harm’ excuse. As for future employment, she will be attractive to any radical, social activist organization. Those groups are VERY forgiving of people who make mistakes.

Anonymous said...

As a condition of ARD, my guess is that the DA will want her to resign her position on City Council.

it would benefit Allentown

Anonymous said...

I see her main defense as not knowing the person was a minor. "Significantly, Gerlach's claim she was unaware ofthe boy's age is bellied by her own paperwork", where can this paperwork referenced be checked out?

Bernie O'Hare said...

" where can this paperwork referenced be checked out?"

At the preliminary hearing. This comes directly from the DA's news release, and will be a part of the case.

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe that nitwit was only few hundred votes from winning the Allentown democratic primary!

Anonymous said...

I noticed the MC topped their story with a huge headline quoting her denial. I don't recall them giving Marty Nothstein the same opportunity.

Also, she was fired from Valley Youth House before the election. Why was this information not relayed to the public? Did the MC reporter not contact VYH when he was reporting on the story?

Finally, I volunteer for a local non-profit. Annually, we are informed in no uncertain terms that we are mandated reporters. No ifs, ands, or buts. And I'm just a dumb-ole retiree. A would-be high-powered politico couldn't figure that out?

Anonymous said...

Bernie –

Thank you for covering this story, but if you (or anyone else complaining about the lack of coverage) are still subscribing or advertising in the Morning Call, you’re part of the problem.

The Call long ago stopped reporting the news and decided to take sides. They routinely attack republican politicians and positions on issues while cheerleading for the democrat side. I suppose that some are less inclined to believe this if they’re on the democrat team, but the Call’s silence on the Pawlowski corruption should have opened the eyes of even the most extreme partisans.

Yesterday on Molovinsky’s blog, LVCI mentioned the Call currently ignoring a negative story (stories?) in the Allentown School District. While I have no idea of what he was referring to, you would think that at least one reporter from the Call would wonder why the Allentown School Board was ready to vote in favor of the largest property tax hike allowed by law when the District was closed for in-person learning for 90% of the school year. Surely there had to be massive savings in utilities, heating, and other costs associated with the physical operation of the district, and those savings should have rolled forward into the coming year.

So the Call’s silence on the Gerlach incident should come as no surprise. What happened to the 16-year-old is terrible, but in the partisan world the Call has chosen to operate in, he is just collateral damage to some larger narrative. I would liken it to the same way the national corporate media routinely ignores stories about Americans who are killed or injured by those in this country illegally.

Since I just mentioned a national issue, I also have to wonder if those subsidizing the Call’s cover-ups (through their advertising or subscription dollars) will have even an ounce of introspection and wonder if that same bias that we see from the Call at the local level applies to the Call’s coverage of state and national issues. My guess is that such a possibility hasn’t even crossed your minds, since the Call is printing what you want to read.

Anonymous said...

She should be "defunded" and removed from council upon conviction and never be allowed to work with children again.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Thank you for covering this story, but if you (or anyone else complaining about the lack of coverage) are still subscribing or advertising in the Morning Call, you’re part of the problem."

I subscribe but am routinely denied access. I subscribe bc I am a blogger and also because I enjoy what's left of local sports coverage.

Anonymous said...

Gerlach was a "mandated reporter" in the capacity of her job at the time.

As a mandated reporter, you are legally obliged to:

1. Make a report to Child Protection if you believe on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection from physical injury or sexual abuse.
2. Make the report as soon as practicable after forming your belief.

Normally, the person making the report doesn't have physical possession of the minor, but in this case it appears Gerlach did. Her job was to find the kid safe shelter. Dropping off a minor in Tent City put him in peril of physical injury, or sexual abuse.

Anyone, whether a mandated reporter, or not, would be facing charges of child endangerment if we did the same thing she did.

Anonymous said...

Breaking this story would have forced the Call to also investigate the non-profit.

The dirty little secret about these non-profit entities is that many are used by politicians to take government money and then wash it back to those same politicians in the form of campaign contributions from those on the organization's payroll. More importantly, the non-profits are used to echo and reinforce the political messages of the politicians that funnel the money to them. In other words, they help create the narrative that supports the party and its elected officials (think Alan Jennings and CACLV).

That's how you get the same organizations receiving huge sums of money each year without any review of whether what those organizations are doing is actually making a difference. In other words, there's never any focus on a "report card" to evaluate the performance of those groups.

So the politician gets political (and often financial) support for directing taxpayer dollars to the organization, and the organization gets a steady stream of income without scrutiny of performance. That's the trade off, and why nothing gets better despite government spending huge sums of money year-after-year. The politician wins, and the non-profit wins. Only the taxpayer gets hosed, but a good portion of them will fall for the lie that by throwing money at a problem government (and any politician voting to throw the money) is actually doing something positive about that problem.

Since the Morning Call has chosen to take sides instead of report, they have no interest in putting a story out that could threaten the narrative and those who support it, or (worse yet) bring scrutiny to that corrupt system.

It's really that simple.

By waiting for the DA (or FBI in Pawlowski's case), the Call can now focus on the very narrow charges brought by prosecutors, and avoid casting a wider net that would expose the bigger picture. Yes, it might come at the cost of a few politicians, but they're replaceable. It's more important that the system remains in place.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you and I often disagree on things, but I wish I could give you some award for being a watchdog for us. You have been the first to report many things (I’m still waiting for the so-called mainstream media to report on the drugs found in Courtroom One) that would otherwise be ignored. I am scared — and I mean that sincerely — that the public really doesn’t have a clue (or interest?) in what is happening in local government, which directly impacts life. Biden’s whispering means nothing to me, but I sure as hell get worked up about something like this that is swept under the rug.

Anonymous said...

What about the one in Northampton county.

Anonymous said...

Excellent explanation by 11:25 AM !

Our (once) legitimate news organizations are often co-conspirators. These days, it’s only newsworthy if it helps the publisher’s interest. Only worth investigating if it doesn’t hurt ‘friends.’ Often, the items most deserving of a ‘look see’ in the public interest are not even covered. Yes, the Morning Call is totally in the tank for just one political party. That’s obvious.

Morning Call readers would be shocked to learn how much the State Budget has been shorted over the years due to the ANIZDA arrangement. But, the Morning Call should not be expected to touch that topic. Too close to home. Hey, it’s a racket, but it’s OUR racket!

Paulie said...

I think i am missing the point. There was no way she was going to call anyone. It isn't laziness or not knowing. It is her ego. Defund the police and her wokeness put this minor's life in jeopardy. She is unfit to be called human.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about the MC's wokeness weighting. Obviously, they'd have savaged any R politician accused of crimes involving children. I suspect there's a wokeness chart at the MC that teases out the woke spectrum from A)anything Republican/conservative to Z)f***-the-police Dem's who want to drink the blood of moderates through recycled paper straws. The MC is waaaaay out there now. I don't know or care who "reported" the MC version of the story. But you may rest assured that they wept intensely over the keyboard as they begrudgingly typed it. Hat's off to James Whitney and this blog. The next step for the MC's reporter(s) is to cover the legal proceedings, pretend they broke the story, and get some hokey award from a group of mutually masturbating so-called journalists.

Anonymous said...

Just look at the outrageous salary and benefits of the VYH CEO and who his is married to. Politics and non-profits are joined at the hip.

Anonymous said...

I ended my 30 year, 7 days a week subscription to the MC last year. Couldn't take their liberal bias any more. The only things I miss are the dwindling number of local news stories, the entertainment section and sports.

Anonymous said...

You folks who post that the MCall is a liberal rag are just wrong. For national and international news, they rightly have AP, Reuters, etc. as syndicated sources. Their op-eds are a mix that is weighted more towards conservative commentary if you actually take the time to count it out. Their headlines on national issues are conservatively skewed even if the articles come from nuetral sources. The local section is suffering the most with a lack of reporters...its shameful and is going to get worse now that Alden has bought out Tribune. Alden is a known quantity where newspapers go to die. Many of you have been pushed so far to the right you don't recognize factual reporting like AP and Reuters as news anymore because it disagrees with your skewed newsfeed on social media...Fox et al.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You folks who post that the MCall is a liberal rag are just wrong. "

I do not consider it liberal or conservative. I think it plays favorites. It did sop with Fed Ed, really screwed Marty Nothstein and participated in a cover-up of child abuse for someone who was giving them headlines. It filed to report that City Council candidate Justan Fields was on probation (ARD) for giving police a false identity. It refused to look into facade grant abuse by Peter Lewnes bc it might make him and Alan Jennings look bad. It has failed to note that the GOP candidate for NorCo Exec likes to prance around with a bulletproof vest. It has failed to look even a little at what is going on locally. It is not there.

As I have said several times now, this was a story the moment Gerlach admitted what she had done to James Whitney. If unwilling to go with that, it was a story the moment the Lewhigh County DA began his investigation. It has yet to look at Valley Youth House, which only fired Gerlach when the DA began his investigation.

Anonymous said...

We are NOT wrong! The Call uses biased international news sources and pick and choose, giving anti-Trimp and anti-Republican stories priority. Just read their Letters to the Editor. They reveal that the Call's remaining subscribers are primarily liberal. "Conservatively skewed?" Please don't make me double over in laughter.

Anonymous said...

Where is Trish these days. Still incarcerated? If so, the last few days must have been brutal, as I don't think jails have air conditioning or am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:20,is that the one about the councilperson and the constable confrontation? It would appear the press is indeed liberal.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say unbelievable; but, that would not be true. There are positions that, by their nature, require the utmost responsible behavior. Working with youth in crisis is one. No sympathy...no excuses for someone who violates that trust.

Just looking back at some of your posts to the blog. Your 5/13 post focused on Thomas Harrington, Valley Youth House President and Executive Director with an outrageous salary. And, now, we read these allegations against one of his employees.

You also drew some insightful connections within the Harrington Dem power family, including Thomas, in your post of 5/17. It was an interesting read that included wife Katherine and son David.

As your post of 4/13 pointed out, David represents Amy Zanelli, Democratic candidate for district magistrate. You indicated that Ms. Zanelli was fired from child welfare positions...not once, but twice...in New Jersey and Northampton County. Any idea why she was fired?

Anonymous said...

ARD is not probation.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, it is a form of probation offered to first time offenders. If you successfully complete it, the charges are dismissed. It is a pre-conviction form of probation.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Where is Trish these days. Still incarcerated? If so, the last few days must have been brutal, as I don't think jails have air conditioning or am I wrong?"

So far as I know, she is still incarcerated at Monroe County. I believe there is air conditioning at that facility.

Anonymous said...

7:22. The rumor about an altercation with a county council woman and a constable is just that a rumor and has not been confirmed.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Does this event call for a Grand Jury investigation to examine how Valley Youth House operates?

Bernie O'Hare said...

From where I sit, I am suspicious. Why did it take so long for them to take action against Gerlach? The DA probably knows and is either investigating or satisfied with the explanations. Why is their CEO Tom Harrington paid such an excessive salary? Why is it that Dave Harrington votes for a budget that funds Valley Youth House? But given the vast number of counties in which this outfit operates, a statewide grand jury would be more appropriate if it rises to that level. Interestingly, it appears this outfit has removed its financial data from its website. I might be mistaken. It might be there and I might justy be too stupid to find it. It is still at Guidestar.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"7:22. The rumor about an altercation with a county council woman and a constable is just that a rumor and has not been confirmed."

Don't be a snake. If you have something to say, say it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you're right. Why is Harrington paid such a sum for managing a nonprofit. Isn't he ashamed? Think of how that money could help homeless teens.

Anonymous said...

if a statewide grand jury is called, Gerlach inadvertently may be responsible for the uncovering of a scandal.

Anonymous said...

Playing Devil's advocate here, I have a few questions: Number 1, what attempts to find the 16 year old a place to stay besides the rejected YMCA were made? Did she supply the tent, food, and sleeping bag from her own resources? And most importantly, What exactly happened to the youth besides some crude offers? I am no fan of Gerlach, but if she genuinely tried to help this person out because there were no other resources available then this should be taken into account in judging her.

Anonymous said...

Any possibility the boy told Ce-Ce the homeless camp WAS where his mother and/father lives? Have no idea how that circumstance would play out.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bernie O'Hare said...
Actually, it is a form of probation offered to first time offenders. If you successfully complete it, the charges are dismissed. It is a pre-conviction form of probation.

June 30, 2021 at 9:16 PM

But it's not "pre-conviction" because there IS no conviction. If you refer to ARD ("Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition") as ARD and probation as probation, then you avoid confusion. To suggest that someone on ARD is on probation is to suggest that they have been conviction when they haven't. That's a HUGE distinction. Be precise!

Anonymous said...

9:03 Are you f@#$ing kidding?!!! "genuinely tried to help this person out because there were no other resources available then this should be taken into account in judging her". "Crude offers"? "ME ME" Gerlach took an underage juvenile to a homeless crime riddled drug infested, prostitution, and whatever else illegal that goes on there.

You should be a shamed of your yourself making such an assine comment(s)! Just think if this was your child. Gerlach should have been locked up! There are serious laws and ramifications when mistreating children especially when any sexual advances are indicated. Where did you get that brain of yours? Do this blog a favor keep your stupid questions to yourself!!!

Anonymous said...

@9:03 AM Gerlach is not a newbie to working with youth. It is simply implausible that she could not find a suitable alternative to a homeless camp. Bottom line...aiding a 16-year old boy and doing her job on that evening was inconvenient for her.

And, @11:01 AM Even if that was true, Gerlach should have verified the story by locating the parents and found a place for all three rather than placing a youth in that environment or separating a family.

Clearly, there was poor judgment used, which raises questions about her employer, Valley Youth House, and its administration...or lack of. Sadly, Gerlach's actions reflect on the overwhelming number of dedicated and underpaid social service professionals who perform their duties with tact, respect, and competence.

Anonymous said...

Gerlach's actions raise a serious administrative question about VYH management. Where was the staff-issued procedural manual Gerlach could have followed rather than dropping a 16-year-old in a dark isolated wooded area with no chance of calling out for help. Also, where was her cell to reach Harrington 24/7?


Anonymous said...

Being UGLI is not a crime. You go girl. CE CE Rocks!

Anonymous said...

Devil's advocate here: If there are so many resources available why is there a "tent city"? Are our resources overwhelmed to the point of desperation when trying to help someone?
Concerning Gerlach directly: I have to ask myself why? What is the advantage to her of trying to help this 16 yr old out when she could have just as easily ignored him completely? if it was simply a matter of convenience, then why would she have bothered at all? If your answer is "Because it's her Job!" then I would counter that you are expecting a person with a bucket of water to stop a city going up in flames.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Devil's Advocate, This has nothing to do with the LV's homelessness problem. It focuses on a 16 yo who ran away and a caseworker who knowingly endangered him by dumping him off at a tent city, where he was subjected to sexual abuse. It involves a caseworker who had an obligation to report and failed to do so.

Anonymous said...

@9:20 AM First, there should be no tent cities. But, it is widely known, homelessness is a choice with some of the population. In the best of worlds, we would work to solve the problem on the front end (e.g., providing training and job opportunities, recognizing and removing the stigma of mental health issues, etc.) rather than suggesting we need additional resources on the back end. You don't get it. Based on working with youth, she is a "mandated reporter." She has a legal responsibility to the 16-year old. And, the stated mission of Valley Youth House is "Valley Youth House is the catalyst for youth to achieve their desired future through genuine relationships that support families, ensure safe places, and build community connections." Yes...it says "ensure safe places." A tent city is not a safe place for a 16-year old. Firemen are responsible for putting out fires in a city or elsewhere and social welfare professionals are responsible for ensuring the safety of youth at risk.

Bernie O'Hare said...

IO corrected my story to note that the raise is actually 7%, not 6.5%, over two years. A step is about 4.5%.