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Vatican diplomat Carlo Capella jailed for child porn offences

Vatican diplomat Carlo Capella jailed for child porn offences

At the conclusion the first such trial of its kind in the Vatican Monsignor Carlo Capella, above, was jailed yesterday for five years and fined €5,000 (£4,400) for possessing and distributing child pornography.

According to this report, Capella admitted to viewing the images during what he called a period of “fragility” and personal crisis sparked by a job transfer to the Vatican embassy in Washington.

He apologised to his family and the Holy See, and appealed for leniency by saying the episode was just a “bump in the road” of a priestly vocation he loved and wanted to continue.

Tribunal President Giuseppe Dalla Torre read out the verdict after a two-day trial. Capella will serve his sentence in the Vatican barracks, where he has been held since his arrest earlier this year.

Prosecutor Gian Piero Milano had asked for a stiffer sentence due to what he called the “great” amount of material accessed, which included 40 to 55 photos, films and Japanese animation found on his cellphone, an iCloud and Tumblr account, which Capella viewed even after he had been recalled by the Vatican in August 2017.

Prosecutors and Vatican investigators said the material featured children aged 14-17 engaging in sexual acts.

Capella’s attorney disputed that Capella had distributed the material. He denied the amount of porn was excessive, and said his client had cooperated with investigators, repented and was seeking psychological help.

The Vatican recalled Capella, the No 4 official in its Washington embassy, after the US State Department notified it last August of a “possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images” by one of its diplomats in Washington.

Soon after, Canadian police issued an arrest warrant for Capella, accusing him of having accessed, possessed and distributed child porn over Christmas 2016 from a church in Windsor, Ontario, using a social networking site.

The trial was the first known enforcement of a 2013 law for the Vatican City State that specifically criminalised possession and distribution of child pornography, punishing it with up to five years in prison and a 50,000 euro fine.

Capella will now be subject to a canonical trial, which could result in him being defrocked.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Canadian authorities would pursue their case against him; the Vatican doesn’t extradite its citizens.

Capella said he realised that his actions were vulgar and “improper”. During a final statement on Saturday begging for the minimum sentence, Capella apologised for the pain his “fragility” and “weakness” had caused his family, his diocese and the Holy See.

I hope that this situation can be considered a bump in the road.

A canon lawyer, Capella is listed online as having written a 2003 paper for the Pontifical Lateran University on priestly celibacy and the church’s criminal code.

The case was similar to the 2013 recall of the Vatican’s then-ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Monsignor Jozef Wesolowski, above, who was accused of sexually abusing young boys on the Caribbean island.

Wesolowski was defrocked by the church court, but he died before the Vatican’s criminal trial got underway.

Earlier this year Monsignor Pietro Amenta, a former  judge of the Roman Rota, the Vatican’s highest appellate court, received a suspended sentence of one year and two months after he was found guilty by the Tribunal of Rome of sexual molestation and possessing of child pornography.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

10 responses to “Vatican diplomat Carlo Capella jailed for child porn offences”

  1. Terry says:

    “of a priestly vocation he loved and wanted to continue”.

    Yeah. Right. He loved it because it gave him the once perfectly camouflaged access to children he needed for his sexual gratification. No other career path afforded such easy access to children. Well its all different now and the RCC is exposed again for its crimes against children. The game is up.

    But there is one question to answer:-
    Does being an RCC Priest turn men into child raping deviants or do deviants with the desire to rape children join the RCC because the access to children was once so easy and risk free?
    I say its a bit of both. Either way the RCC is guilty of recruiting, developing, harbouring and protecting those who rape children. PLain and simple.

    Name the crime and the RCC is guilty of it.
    Time to start prosecuting those in charge of this most heinous of crime syndicates.

  2. AgentCormac says:

    Ah, yes – paedophilia: nothing to worry about at all. It’s just a simple ‘bump in the road’.

    FFS. Lock the bastard up before he can do any more harm..

  3. StephenJP says:

    AC: “lock him up” indeed; but 5 years in “the Vatican barracks” (less something off for good behaviour, and something else for time already served) looks pretty soft. And do we really think that the RCC would have gone even this far if it hadn’t been for the torrent of damaging publicity that they’ve received recently – damaging especially to their bottom line?

    I don’t believe the RCC are capable of real change; and because they still possess their totally spurious diplomatic status, no Government or international organisation is likely to try to force them to. That leaves public opinion, free journalism, and sites like this to keep the pressure on.

  4. Bob Anderson says:

    He denied the amount of porn was excessive,

    Eh?

  5. Vanity Unfair says:

    As a canon lawyer he should have known better and must be immediately fired.

  6. 1859 says:

    “The Vatican Barracks” – 4 or 5 star accommodation? As long as sad dudes like this are expected to be celibate, their repressed sexual urges are going to express themselves somehow, somewhere to the detriment of the rest of society -especially children.

  7. Brian Jordan says:

    Hmm… tried, sentenced and imprisoned in the Vatican for an offense committed in the USA. Could this happen for something that wasn’t a crime in the USA?
    I suppose I mean: are Vatican courts really legitimate in this day and age?

  8. Vanity Unfair says:

    To Brian Jordan:
    The Vatican City is a recognised country (the world’s smallest, the last time I checked) so is entitled to its own legal system and courts.
    Many, if not all, states claim extra-territorial competence for some offences against their laws. Most will regard treason, wherever committed as a local offence and this does seem logical. The murder of a British citizen overseas is an offence within the competence of UK courts. Any misuse of US Dollars anywhere seems to regarded as triable in US federal courts. There must be lots of other examples.
    Disclaimer: I am not an international lawyer.
    On the positive side, the Vatican has not hidden this one away. Is this a good omen?

  9. John the Drunkard says:

    Aw, the poor widdle dear is ‘seeking psychological help.’ Doesn’t repentance and confession (AFTER getting caught) make it all go away?

  10. Robster says:

    Next week, in a move designed to improve the Vatican’s relationship with the rest of the world, Frank the pope will gather all the innocent Catholic clergies in the one place, in an attempt to remind himself that there may be one or two he could actually trust. Frank’s booked the payphone at the corner of Troolies Boulevard and Edible Jesus way for next Tuesday. Attendees are advised to keep their chastity belts on and bring an apple.

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