Catholic Priest Wanted in USA and Canada for Child Pornography Hides in Vatican

Monsignor Carlo Capella, a 50-year-old priest and diplomat in the Vatican’s foreign service, is safely hiding in the Vatican, despite two countries that want to arrest him on child pornography charges. Both the US and Canada have issues warrants for the priest’s arrest, but he is untouchable as long as he stays within the walls of the Vatican.

Capella is allegedly the same priest who was secreted back to Rome last August when American authorities wanted to press similar charges against a then unnamed priest. The Vatican will not confirm or deny his identity. But in September, the Holy See said it was disciplining the errant unnamed priest in-house. The Vatican would not comment on the Canadian arrest warrant, which names Capella as the suspect.

In Canada, the Windsor Police Service Internet Child Exploitation Unit said it received a tip in February 2017 from the National Child Coordination Center of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that a crime against children had been committed. Someone had used a social networking website to upload child pornography from church property in Windsor over the Christmas period.

The police were given access to internet service providers’ logs and church records to determine who could have uploaded the criminal material. All trails led to Capella, who had visited the church over Christmas.  “The investigation determined that the alleged offenses occurred between Dec. 24-27, 2016,” at a Windsor church.

It is unclear how the Vatican will react to these new warrants. However, Vatican officials have done almost nothing so far in assisting civil authorities in either the US or Canada.

The case should be particularly troubling for Pope Francis. As recently as September 21st, the Pope acknowledged that the church had made mistakes in the priest abuse scandal and promised he would mandate zero tolerance for sexually abusive priests. The Capella case will be the first to test these words. Pope Francis has an opportunity to do the right thing and turn over the priest to law enforcement. Will he make good on his promises?

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, California, and other states.

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