HENDERSON, Nev. – A former New Jersey Catholic priest-turned-teacher who had been accused of sexually abusing young boys decades ago was found shot to death in his Nevada home Saturday, police said.
Officers were conducting a welfare check about 5:10 p.m. when they discovered the body of John Capparelli, 70, in his kitchen, according to authorities. The Clark County Coroner's Office said he had been shot once in the neck.
Police said the incident is being investigated as a homicide.
The Star-Ledger newspaper reported that Capparelli's name was included last month on a list of 188 priests and deacons in the state of New Jersey who had been "credibly accused" of sex crimes against children. Capparelli was supended from the ministry in 1992 after complaints about his behavior, according to the paper.
In 1993, Capparelli became a math teacher in Newark, New Jersey. The state moved to revoke his teaching licenses in 2011 after a report by the Star-Ledger in 2011 disclosing numerous allegations that he sexually abused young boys while he was a priest in the 70s and 80s.
Capparelli was never convicted of a crime, but lawsuits accused him of groping teenage boys and asking them to wrestle in swimsuits while he would take photographs.
One of Capparelli's accusers, Rich Fitter, described the alleged abuse to a reporter from KLAS.
Fitter said that Capparelli ran a Catholic youth organization where he and his friends would play sports.
"He would require you to wear speedo-type bathing suits and he would photograph you," Fitter told KLAS. "He would go to the movies with us or take us for pizza and just kind of hang out."
Fitter described one incident in which Capparelli grabbed the inside of his leg while they were out to see a movie. Fitter claims that things eventually escalated to him being sexually assaulted by Capparelli.