A defrocked Roman Catholic priest who was among nearly 200 New Jersey priests facing accusations of sexual abuse was shot and killed in a Las Vegas suburb, officials said Tuesday.
John Capparelli, 70, was found dead Saturday inside the kitchen of his Henderson home with a gunshot wound to his neck, said Nicole Charlton, the Clark County Coroner’s Office medical examiner. Capparelli had moved into the $319,000 home in August 2016, according to property records.
Police believe Capparelli died amid “suspicious circumstances,” but authorities haven’t divulged details as to whether there’s a suspect in his death or if the killing had anything to do with the abuse allegations.
“Preliminary investigation indicates the victim died of suspicious circumstances, and the incident is being investigated as a homicide,” police said in a statement, according to NJ.com. “A suspect has not been identified at this time and police are following up on developed leads.”
Capparelli, who was included last month on a list of 180 priests facing abuse allegations as named by five New Jersey dioceses, was a math tutor for high school and college students.
Joann D’Angelo, a neighbor, told the Associated Press that Capparelli lived alone.
“He was a very quiet man,” she said. “He minded his own business.”
Capparelli was among the priests accused of groping and brutalizing teen boys in the 1970s and 1980s and was defrocked in 1992, according to an NJ.com report last month. He later worked as a public school math teacher in the Newark, N.J., School District but agreed to have his teaching licenses revoked in 2011 when the allegations first emerged.
Capparelli was also accused of running a website featuring young men wrestling in revealing bathing suits.