Diocese asks priest to step down

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“My only comment is that I am innocent and this is a very sad and terrible lie”

Shocked and puzzled. This is the feeling of the Hispanic parishioners of St. Mary’s church in Moline, after their spiritual guide, priest Jerry Pilon was accused of Inappropriate Sexual Conduct with a minor.

The grave complaint made the Peoria Diocese take a radical decision and suspended Pilon of his duties as a Priest and removed him from the church in Moline, in addition they asked him to not use the title of Reverend or Father nor wear the collar or garb.

According to the complaint the acts would have occurred 12 years ago, between 1995 and 1997 in the Parish Church San Antonio of Hoopeston, Illinois. Details were not revealed of the alleged acts or of those involved, and the identity of the accuser is no yet revealed.

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The priest has not been seen in public, although he has defended himself in a brief message sent via email to the News Gazette, declaring his innocence: “My only comment is that I am innocent and this is a very sad and terrible lie.”

 “Padre Pilon” as the members of his congregation lovingly called him, with particular dedication worked with the Quad Cities’ Latino community. Not only did he give the traditional Sunday mass in Spanish but gave leadership to the different groups of parish church work at St. Mary’s church in Moline.

Pilon worked for more than ten years in the Hispanic community here in the Quad Cities. The Peoria Diocese, has adopted new and strict norms for cases like this, in its intent to protect the congregation and the church body, and avoid the improper conduct of some of the members that can stain the image of the Catholic Church, as it has occurred recently in other states of the country that have struck up millions of lawsuits after multiple complaints of sexual abuse by priests.

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While investigations in the case of priest Jerry Pilon continue, St. Mary’s Church of Moline will continue offering its habitual religious services through the substitute priests sent by the Diocese, until a definite replacement has been named.


Shocked and puzzled

“We are no one to judge him. If he did something wrong, he’ll have to pay. Here in Moline he behaved very well always and helped tons of people. He was very strict and demanding with church business.”
 –Roberta Gonzáles

“I have been a church servant for a long time and the truth is I have my doubts. I can’t judge him, but I was very surprised that he left suddenly and without any explanation. That didn’t seem normal.”
Juan Ortíz. Ex-member of the parish church youth group “Nuevo Amanecer”

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