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The sexual abuse scandal in the Peoria diocese is the part of the Catholic sex abuse cases affecting the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria in the U.S. state of Illinois.

Allegations against Bishop Myers

From 1987 to 2001, John J. Myers was Coadjutor Bishop then Bishop of Peoria. Soon after being reassigned from Peoria to Newark, Myers was appointed to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse, to investigate the Catholic sex abuse cases.[1] The affairs involving John Anderson and Francis Engels had reportedly occurred under his watch.[citation needed]

In 2002, Myers was among the two-thirds of sitting bishops and acting diocese administrators that the Dallas Morning News found had allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to continue working.[2]

John Anderson

Rev. John Anderson was first accused in 1993, and was removed from a parish; by 2002 Anderson was the director of the Peoria diocese office for Propagation of the Faith, until he and six other priests were suspended that May by Myers' successor, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky.[2][3]

Francis Engels

Rev. Francis Engels was the subject of numerous complaints, but accusers say the bishop ignored them until the accusers went to the news media in the early 1990s. Myers suspended Engels, but later attempted to re-instate him. Myers later said that he "didn't realize they would be so upset" about re-instatement.[2] In 2005, Engels plead guilty (in an Alford plea) to molesting a Peoria altar boy on trips to Milwaukee in the early 1980s; the victim said Engels told him, "If you tell anybody, they're not going to believe you".[4] In May 2002, When the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse was reorganized in late 2002, Myers was one of three bishops no longer on the committee.[3]

Gordon J. Pillon

Diocese of Peoria priest Gordon J. Pillon was named in a lawsuit on April 20, 2009, alleging that he sexually abused a former priest of the Diocese, Ben Rodriquez, in Orange, California when Pillon was a pastor and Rodriquez a minor. The Diocese of Peoria was not named in the lawsuit despite Pillon's repeated history of sexual abuse and drug abuse. Pillon was removed in 2006 from St. Hyancinth's Rectory after concerned friends reported to Diocesan officials his increasing prescription drug abuse.[5]

Pillon had been ordering increasingly large supplies of prescription drugs from overseas pharmacies after local physicians refused to refill his prescriptions because of the suspicion of drug abuse. Pillon also engaged others to have prescriptions filled for themselves and to then provide the medication to him. After a short stint in a treatment center and with no notice to the members of the Diocese of Peoria, Pillon left the Diocese and is now working in a college setting as a professor and admissions staff member with the Tiffin university Prague campus.[6]

See also


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