Jewish Journal

Former Catholic priest accuses another of abusing him as teen

by Brad A. Greenberg

April 22, 2009 | 2:13 pm

Saw this story yesterday but didn’t have a chance to blog it, and I’m running into a meeting now. So here’s an excerpt from the Los Angeles Times:

A former Roman Catholic priest accused another former priest Monday of sexually abusing him in the rectory of a La Habra church when he was a teenager.

In a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Ben Rodriguez, 45, said he was molested numerous times between the ages of 15 and 18 in the priest’s church apartment. On some occasions, the priest gave him muscle relaxants and sleeping pills before abusing him, Rodriguez alleged.

The lawsuit did not name the accused priest, but Rodriguez identified him as Gordon Pillon in interviews and at a news conference Monday outside the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. Rodriguez handed out copies of a photograph of himself and Pillon, taken at the younger man’s confirmation nearly three decades ago.

Rodriguez alleged that Pillon, then an assistant pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in La Habra and Rodriguez’s spiritual advisor, took advantage of him while his parents were divorcing and that Pillon eventually persuaded him to sever his ties to his family and enter the seminary. Several years later, the two worked together at churches in Illinois, where Rodriguez was an assistant pastor to Pillon.

Rodriguez was a priest in the Diocese of Peoria for 16 years. In 2006, he decided to tell diocesan officials about the alleged abuse after another young man there said Pillon had made sexual advances toward him, Rodriguez said in an interview.

“Gordon wasn’t just a priest, he was like a cult figure,” Rodriguez said. “He didn’t have a conscience.”

Read the rest here.

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