Controversial SF pastor removed from post 

click to enlarge starofthesea.jpg
The controversial pastor of a Catholic elementary school in San Francisco has been removed from his post, though some parents remain concerned that the change is only temporary.

The announcement came late last month that a new chaplain was appointed to oversee the Star of the Sea Elementary in place of Rev. Joseph Illo and Rev. Patrick Driscoll, said Christy Brooks, a parent of two sons at the Richmond district school.

“The only way we’re going to be satisfied is if we have a guarantee [that] over the course of our children’s lifetimes at Star of the Sea, Father Illo and Father Driscoll will not [be involved],” Brooks said.

Illo, the school’s pastor since last summer, came under fire in recent months after he announced a new policy to no longer train girls as altar servers and later distributed sexually explicit pamphlets to children before confession, the latter of which he apologized for.

The pastor was also recently thrust into the spotlight after parents learned of a civil case, settled in San Joaquin County Superior Court in 2005, which found that Illo inflicted emotional distress on an 11-year-old girl while at St. Joseph’s Parish in Modesto. The incident occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, when the girl reported alleged sexual misconduct by another priest working under Illo.

In the interim, the Rev. Vito Perrone is serving as the chaplain at Star of the Sea, an arrangement that keeps Illo and Driscoll “away from the school,” Brooks explained. She added that Perrone has made an effort to meet with parents at the school.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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