Disgraced priest from N.J. who was ‘credibly accused’ of sexual misconduct found shot to death in Nevada

Updated Mar 12, 2019

A former New Jersey priest and teacher who was accused of groping young boys was found shot to death in his Nevada home over the weekend, authorities said.

Police conducting a welfare check Saturday found the body of a John Capparelli, 70, in the house he owned on Bonner Springs Drive in Henderson, Nevada, authorities said.

Capparelli had been shot once in the neck. His body was found in the kitchen about 5:10 p.m., according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

Last month, Capparelli’s name was included a list of 188 priests and deacons in the state who had been “credibly accused” of sex crimes against children. New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses released the names while under mounting pressure to identify clergy accused of sexual misconduct.

Accused of groping and brutalizing teenage boys, Capparelli was suspended from the ministry in 1992. Nearly two decades later, after The Star-Ledger revealed he was working as a public school teacher in Newark, the state revoked his certificates.

Though he was never convicted of a crime, multiple accusers said Capparelli made them wrestle in swimwear while he took photos. He was also linked to a fetish website that he allegedly ran from his home.

Capparelli worked at Our Lady of Fatima in North Bergen, Oratory Prep in Summit, Holy Trinity in Westfield, St. Theresa in Kenilworth and Temporary Chaplain - Valley Hospital in Ridgewood.

In the years following the accusations, Capparelli moved from New Jersey to Nevada. Public records show he purchased the home in Henderson, a city of 300,000 residents just outside of Las Vegas, in 2016 shortly after selling his home in Belleville.

Police in Nevada declined to say how Capparelli died, but they categorized the death as their third homicide of the year.

“Preliminary investigation indicates the victim died of suspicious circumstances, and the incident is being investigated as a homicide,” police said in the statement. “A suspect has not been identified at this time and police are following up on developed leads.”

A Henderson police spokeswoman said the case was an active investigation and that police would not be commenting further on Capparelli’s death.

An assistant in the coroner’s office said Capparelli’s body remained in the morgue and had not been claimed as of late Tuesday morning.

A neighbor in Henderson told KTNV-TV that Capparelli kept to himself and was often seen walking his dog near his home.

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