Diocese Asks Peoria Priest to Step down after Sex Abuse Claim

The Associated Press, carried in Belleville News-Democrat
May 25, 2006

PEORIA, Ill. - A Catholic priest from central Illinois has been asked to step down after allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct with a minor, the Peoria Catholic diocese said Wednesday.

Father Gordon Pillon began serving in the Peoria diocese in 1993 and most recently was pastor at St. Patrick Church, St. Hyacinth Church, Holy Rosary Church and Resurrection Church, all in LaSalle County, the diocese said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear if Pillon had agreed with Bishop Daniel Jenky's request to step down and the diocese did not return a message left late Wednesday from The Associated Press. A woman who answered the phone at Holy Rosary declined to comment and no one returned messages left after business hours at the other churches.

The diocese said the abuse allegedly occurred nearly 25 years ago while Pillon served in the diocese of Orange, Calif., but provided no further details "out of respect for the privacy of the victims involved in the cases."

Pillon, 53, does not have a listed telephone number and could not be reached for comment.

Jenky asked Pillon to step down after the "recent" allegations surfaced, according to the diocese's statement. He has asked Pillon to stop functioning as a priest in any public capacity, wear clerical garb or use the title reverend or father.

The diocese was not aware of any allegations against Pillon when he began working in central Illinois, according to the statement. He also served at ministries at Bradley University in Peoria, St. Edward Church in Chillicothe, St. John's Chapel in Champaign, St. John Church in Clinton, St. Patrick Church in Wapella, Sacred Heart Church in Farmer City and St. John Church in Bellflower.


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