John Capparelli a former New Jersey priest and schoolteacher who had been accused of sexually abusing minors was found shot to death in his Nevada home Saturday, authorities said. John Capparelli, 70, died of a single gunshot to the neck, said a spokeswoman from the Clark County Coroner’s Office.
His body was found Saturday morning during a welfare check of his two-bedroom home on Bonner Springs Drive. Henderson police are investigating Capparelli’s death, which has been ruled a homicide, said police public information officer Katrina Rothmeyer.
“Preliminary investigation indicates the victim died of suspicious circumstances, and the incident is being investigated as a homicide,” she said. A suspect has not immediately been identified, but police are following up on leads. At the Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity in Westfield, one of the New Jersey churches where Capparelli served, a man who answered the phone sounded stunned and saddened when told of the violent death of the former priest.
“I hadn’t heard — the diocese didn’t say anything about it,” said the man, who declined to give his name. “It’s very sad. Every violent death is a tragic loss.” Accused of groping and brutalizing teenage boys in the 1980s, Capparelli was permanently removed from ministry in 1992, then defrocked. His teaching license was subsequently revoked in a settlement.
Capparelli, who had lived in Belleville, moved to Nevada, where records show he purchased his home in Henderson for $319,000 in 2016. “The Archdiocese of Newark has no information concerning Mr. Capparelli’s death or any investigation related to his death,” spokeswoman Maria Margiotta said