Ex-priest defrocked for sex abuse found dead in Nevada home; alleged victim speaks out

Local News

A defrocked Roman Catholic priest from New Jersey has been found dead in his new home in a suburb of Las Vegas.

The Clark County Coroner’s Office said Tuesday that 70-year-old John Capparelli was found dead Saturday in his kitchen in Henderson with a gunshot wound to his neck.

Capparelli was one of more than 180 priests named by New Jersey’s five dioceses last month as having credible accusations of sexual abuse against him.

Henderson Police say Capparelli’s body was found Saturday morning after officers conducted a welfare check and said he died of “suspicious circumstances.”

Nicole Charlton with the coroner’s office says the death has been ruled a homicide.

Officer Katrina Rothmeyer declined Tuesday to say whether police have a suspect or whether someone broke into Capparelli’s home.

After Capparelli was removed from his position as a priest, he became a teacher but was soon barred from public schools due to the sexual abuse allegations against him.

8 News NOW spoke with one of Capparelli’s accusers on Tuesday.

According to Rich Fitter, the world is a better and safer place without John Capparelli. 

“I can’t see how karma didn’t catch up to him somehow,” Fitter said.

Fitter describes Capparelli as a socio-path, serial predator and a criminal.

“Capparelli had an interest in people that had a certain look or a certain build or certain athleticism that was his type that he would befriend and groom ultimately for sexual assault,” Fitter said.

Sally Jaramillo, 8 News NOW Reporter: “Where you sexually assaulted by him?”
Fitter: Takes a long pause before saying, “yes, I was.” 

Fitter recalls meeting Capparelli in New Providence, New Jersey.

He says Capparelli was a priest who ran the Catholic youth organization where Fitter and his friends would play sports.  He said Capparelli would pass himself off as a wrestling coach.

“He would require you to wear speedo-type bathing suits and photograph you,” Fitter said.  “He would go to the movies with us take us for pizza just kinda hang out”

At first, Fitter didn’t make anything of Caparelli’s gestures until:

The Clark County Coroner's Office said Tuesday that 70-year-old John Capparelli was found dead Saturday in his kitchen in Henderson with a gunshot wound to his neck.

“We went to a movie and it was one of the Halloween movies — Halloween 3  and there was a scary part and he grabbed the inside of my leg,” Fitter described.

Not long after that incident, Fitter claims another outing escalated into him being sexually assaulted.

“I always wanted him — for him to be held accountable,” said Fitter. “I always — I know I will never get an apology from…”

Through a New Jersey publication, 8 News NOW were able to confirm over 2 dozen lawsuits of sexual accusation against Capparelli.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

Trending Stories