Accused Pedophile Priest Now a Homicide Victim

Dozens in New Jersey alleged John Capparelli had sexually abused them when they were boys
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2019 7:15 AM CDT
NJ Priest Accused of Sex Abuse Murdered in Nevada
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/wideonet)

John Capparelli traveled across the US three years ago, hoping to leave the sexual abuse allegations about him behind on the East Coast, and many in the defrocked priest's Henderson, Nev., neighborhood may have had no clue about his past. That history came to light this week after Capparelli, 70, was found shot dead in his home Saturday, with one local telling KVVU, "You never know who your neighbors are." Per the New York Times, Capparelli—who was ordained in 1980 and served in New Jersey's Archdiocese of Newark until 1992, when he was removed from the ministry—had been sued by several accusers, and his name popped up in February on a list of nearly 200 Roman Catholic priests in the Garden State who'd been credibly accused of abusing a child. The Washington Post notes at least two dozen men made complaints about sexual abuse at Capparelli's hands.

Even after Capparelli left the ministry, he had access to kids, with the Star-Ledger finding out in 2011 he'd become a public school teacher; he'd been able to get a teaching job partly because nothing in his history raised a red flag (he'd never been charged with a crime). The paper also discovered Capparelli ran a porn site showing young male wrestlers. Among the allegations in the suits against him were that he'd molested teen boys he'd put in Speedos and asked to wrestle while he took photos. Cops tell KVVU Capparelli was also known to hire male prostitutes in Nevada, while the New York Post reports he'd been working as a math tutor there for high school and college students. A Clark County coroner's office rep says Capparelli, who was found in his home by cops sent to do a wellness check, suffered a single gunshot wound to the neck, and his death has been ruled a homicide. "The world is a safer place without him," one of his accusers tells (More priest sex abuse stories.)

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