Priest Accused of Sexual Misconduct

By Michael Miller
Journal Star
May 25, 2006

PEORIA - A 53-year-old Roman Catholic priest in LaSalle who served in the Peoria area for several years has been accused of sexual misconduct allegedly occurring nearly 25 years ago, the Catholic Diocese of Peoria announced Wednesday.

The Rev. Gordon Pillon has been asked by Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria to step down from public ministry.

At the time of the alleged misconduct, Pillon was a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Orange in California. Diocesan officials there could not be reached for comment.

A statement from the Peoria Diocese did not say whether Pillon responded to the charges.

Until he was removed from ministry, Pillon was pastor of St. Patrick Church, St. Hyacinth Church, Holy Rosary Church and Resurrection Church, all located in LaSalle. The diocese did not say in its statement when he was asked to step down or when the allegations were made. The U.S. bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People requires prompt action once allegations are made and deemed credible.

Pillon's first assignment after arriving in the Peoria Diocese was campus ministry at Bradley University from 1990 to 1992. He was pastor of St. Edward's Catholic Church, Chillicothe, from 1992 to 1996, officially becoming a priest of the Peoria Diocese in 1993 during Bishop John Myers' administration.

According to the diocesan statement, Peoria Catholic officials were "not aware of any allegations at the time of his incardination into the Diocese of Peoria." Incardination means a priest who has previously served in one diocese is given full acceptance in another diocese after a trial period.

Pillon is the second Diocese of Peoria priest asked to step down this year due to what were deemed credible accusations of sexual misconduct allegedly occurring before he arrived in the diocese. Accusations of alleged incidents occurring several years ago in the Diocese of Joliet were brought against the Rev. William Virtue in February.

Pillon has been assigned to LaSalle churches since 2003. Before that, he served at churches in Champaign, Clinton, Wapella, Farmer City and Bellflower.

According to the diocesan directory, he also was "released for service in (the) Diocese of Charlotte, N.C." in 1996. Charlotte diocesan officials on Wednesday confirmed that Pillon served there from 1996-99, but were unable to comment further.

Jenky has asked Pillon not to act as a priest in any public capacity, not to wear clerical garb or the Roman collar and to refrain from using the titles of reverend and father.

Pillon is the 13th priest serving in the Peoria diocese to be removed from the ministry over sexual misconduct allegations.

Michael Miller can be reached at 686-3106 or


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