Priest with Ties to Area Removed

By Brett Nauman
May 25, 2006

PEORIA -- A priest with ties to several Catholic churches in DeWitt County and Bellflower was asked by Peoria Diocese Bishop Daniel Jenky to step down from the ministry Wednesday amid sexual misconduct allegations dating back more than two decades.

The Rev. Gordon Pillon, who was formerly pastor of St. John Church in Clinton and St. Patrick Church in Wapella from 2000 to 2003, has also been asked "to not function as a Catholic priest in any public capacity, to no longer wear clerical garb or the Roman collar, and to refrain from using the title Reverend or Father," according to a press release issued Wednesday by the Peoria Diocese.

Pillon, who also had short tenures serving Sacred Heart Church in Farmer City and St. John Church in Bellflower in 2003, was recently accused of having an improper sexual relationship with a minor 25 years ago while he served as ha priest in California, the Diocese said.

Pillon had been pastor of three churches in LaSalle since he was reassigned from his local posts. The decision to remove Pillon came after the Catholic Church's Sexual Review Commission examined the credibility of allegations against him, according to the Diocese.

"Bishop Jenky continues to pray for all the victims of sexual assault. He sends his heartfelt apologies to all those affected and prays that our Lord will heal the wounds resulting from this abuse," the Diocese said in the statement Wednesday.

The Peoria Diocese "was not aware of any allegations" was incardinated to the Diocese in 1993. Elizabeth Smarjesse, a spokesperson for the Peoria Diocese, said Jenky would not be releasing additional details about Pillon's case.

The Catholic Church has come under fire in recent years for its policies for dealing with sexual abuse accusations lodged against priests. The panel that reviewed Pillon's case was made up of clergy, physicians, educators, psychologists, a victim, attorneys and civil officials.

"Bishop Jenky also asks for the prayers of the faithful for all the individuals involved in this case and especially for the overwhelming majority of our priests and lay ministers whose zeal and holiness do so much to build up the body of Christ in Central Illinois," the statement said.

Pillon's ministries

Removed priest Gordon Pillon's assignments since his incardination into the Peoria Diocese in 1993.

Campus ministry at Bradley University, Peoria 1990-1992.

St. Edward Church, Chillicothe 1992-1996.

St. John's Chapel, Champaign 1999-2000

St. John Church, Clinton 2000-2003

St. Patrick Church, Wapella 2000-2003

Sacred Heart Church, Farmer City 2003

St. John Church, Bellflower 2003

St. Patrick Church, LaSalle 2003-2006

St. Hyacinth Church, LaSalle 2003-2006

Holy Rosary Church, LaSalle 2003-2006

Resurrection Church, LaSalle 2005-2006.


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