Former priest John Capparelli in an undated photo. (NJ.com and The Star-Ledger file)
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, On Saturday, John Capparelli a former Ridgewood priest was found fatally shot in his home in Nevada, and the authorities there said that his death was being investigated as a homicide.The former New Jersey priest was shot dead in his Nevada home just a month after his name appeared on a list of Garden State priests credibly accused of sexual abuse, authorities said. 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.
John Capparelli, 70, was found with a fatal gunshot wound to his neck in the kitchen of his home in Henderson . The defrocked Roman Catholic priest died under “suspicious circumstances” and his death is being investigated as a homicide, City of Henderson Police said. Capparelli had worked at Our Lady of Fatima in North Bergen; Oratory Prep in Summit; Holy Trinity in Westfield; St. Theresa in Kenilworth; and Valley Hospital in Ridgewood.
A Catholic priest from 1980 to 1992, Capparelli had been accused by at least two dozen men of sexual misconduct. The allegations included groping and forcing young men to wrestle in swimsuits while he photographed the encounters, according to NJ.com. Even after he was suspended from the church in 1992, Capparelli continued working with children as a public school teacher.
That career came to an abrupt end in 2011, when the Star-Ledger reported on the past allegations against the ex-priest, and also revealed his ties to the operation of a fetish website. He was never criminally charged with any wrongdoing and always maintained his innocence