For­mer priest ac­cused of sex­ual abuse found shot to death

The Buffalo News - - NATIONAL NEWS - By Rick Ro­jas and Liam Stack

Al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual abuse trailed John Cap­par­elli, a for­mer priest, for decades, resur­fac­ing in the years after the Arch­dio­cese of Ne­wark re­moved him from min­istry. There were the law­suits from ac­cusers, and last month his name was in­cluded on a list pub­lished by the Ro­man Catholic Church in New Jer­sey that iden­ti­fied priests who had been cred­i­bly ac­cused of sex­ual abuse.

On Satur­day, Cap­par­elli was found fa­tally shot in his home in Ne­vada, and the au­thor­i­ties there said that his death was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as a homi­cide.

The po­lice said that of­fi­cers found Cap­par­elli’s body in his kitchen after be­ing sent to do a well­ness check at his home in Hen­der­son, Nev., a city of 300,000 peo­ple just out­side Las Ve­gas, where he has lived for the past few years.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Clark County coro­ner’s of­fice said Tues­day that Cap­par­elli, 70, had a sin­gle gun­shot wound to the neck and that the med­i­cal ex­am­iner had ruled his death a homi­cide.

In a state­ment, the Hen­der­son Po­lice De­part­ment said that in­ves­ti­ga­tors have not iden­ti­fied a sus­pect but were “fol­low­ing up on de­vel­oped leads” and cited “sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances” sur­round­ing his death. Po­lice of­fi­cials de­clined to elab­o­rate be­yond the state­ment, and said that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was con­tin­u­ing.

Cap­par­elli had been in­cluded with nearly 200 other priests and dea­cons who were named last month by the Catholic dio­ce­ses in New Jer­sey as hav­ing been cred­i­bly ac­cused of the sex­ual abuse of a mi­nor. The dis­clo­sures joined a flood of lists re­leased in re­cent months by Catholic dio­ce­ses and re­li­gious orders across the coun­try in re­sponse to the sex abuse scan­dal that has en­gulfed the Church.

The Ne­wark arch­dio­cese said that Cap­par­elli, who was or­dained in 1980, served in sev­eral par­ishes and schools be­fore he was re­moved from min­istry and later de­frocked. In a state­ment Tues­day, the arch­dio­cese said that it had “no in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing Mr. Cap­par­elli’s death or any in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­lated to his death.”

The re­ported al­le­ga­tions against Cap­par­elli took place while he was still in the priest­hood, but they con­tin­ued to emerge in the years after he left the min­istry in 1992. The Star-Ledger, the news­pa­per in Ne­wark, cov­ered him ex­ten­sively, re­port­ing in 2011 that he had been hired as a math teacher at a pub­lic high school in Ne­wark. He later quit teach­ing and moved to Ne­vada. For sev­eral years, Cap­par­elli op­er­ated a porn web­site fea­tur­ing young men wrestling, The Star-Ledger re­ported.

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