Ex-La Salle Pastor Asked to Leave Ministry Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

By Shelby Sebens
News Tribune [LA Salle IL]
May 25, 2006

A former La Salle pastor has been asked to step down from ministry after an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations, according to a statement from the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.

The Rev. Gordon Pillon, 53, has been told not to 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 titles "Reverend" or "Father," according to a statement Wednesday from Bishop Daniel Jenky.

Pillon has been absent from his assigned parishes — St. Patrick, St. Hyacinth, Holy Rosary and Resurrection churches — for personal reasons since March 2006.

Recent allegations of sexual misconduct of a minor were made against Pillon dating back nearly 25 years ago, according to the statement. At that time, Pillon was a priest in the Diocese of Orange, Calif.

"In accord with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Bishop Jenky consulted with and sought the advice of the Sexual Review Commission who were made aware of the allegations and advised the Bishop as to their opinion of the credibility of the allegations," the document stated.

The review commission is made up of clergy, physicians, educators, psychologists, a victim, attorneys and civil officials.

"The Diocese was not aware of any allegations at the time of his incardination into the Diocese of Peoria in 1993," according to the statement.

The Rev. Robert Rayson was appointed administrator of the parishes and will assume responsibilities as pastor of the parishes in La Salle in June 2006. An assistant is expected to be appointed before that time.

"Under the direction of Bishop Jenky, the Catholic Diocese of Peoria remains committed to maintaining a safe environment for all children," according to the statement.

Steve Siska, principal of Trinity Catholic School in La Salle, would not comment on Pillon's removal. Pillon's duties had included Trinity.

"I'm really not familiar with any of that," said Siska, referring to the allegations about misconduct in California.

Pillon is the second priest in La Salle County to be removed from ministry in 2006 amid allegations of sexual misconduct. William Virtue was pastor of St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Earlville when he was asked to step down in February. He was accused of having sexual misconduct with a minor nearly 25 years ago while a priest in the Diocese of Joliet.


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