“Vatican court jails ex-diplomat Italian priest Carlo Alberto Capella for child porn” & related articles

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USA TodayPublished 1:50 p.m. ET June 23, 2018

A Vatican court sentenced Carlo Alberto Capella to five years in prison for the possession and distribution of child pornography on Saturday.

The 51-year-old priest admitted to viewing images of under-aged teenagers engaging in sexual acts during a period of “fragility” and internal crisis while serving as a diplomat for the Holy See in the United States and in Canada.

He apologized to his family and the Vatican. He described the episode as little more than a “bump in the road” on his priestly vocation and appealed for leniency, explaining that he loved the priesthood and wanted to continue.

“It was never part of my priestly life before,” he told the court.

The two-day trial ended with Tribunal President Giuseppe Dalla Torre reading out the verdict, which also included a €5,000 ($5,830) fine.

Prosecutor Gian Piero Milano pushed for a harsher penalty against Capella — who could have been fined €50,000 — pointing to the “great” volume of material accessed. He said police found 40 pornographic photos and videos were found on the priest’s mobile phone.

Capella continued to view the material even after being recalled from the US by the Vatican in August 2017 after the US State Department informed the Holy See he was suspected of a “possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images.” Both the US and Canada have sought to prosecute Capella but the Vatican has refused to hand him over.

Enforcement of 2013 law

Canadian police issued a warrant for Capella’s arrest, accusing him of having accessed, possessed and distributed child porn from a church in Windsor, Ontario over Christmas 2016. He allegedly distributed the material via a social networking site.

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

His trial was the first known enforcement of a 2013 law for the Vatican City State that specifically criminalized possession and distribution of child pornography, and made it punishable with a prison sentence and a fine.

Now that his criminal trial is over Capella will be subject to a canonical hearing, which could lead to him being defrocked.

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Vatican court jails ex-diplomat Italian priest Carlo Alberto Capella for child porn

Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella is the first person to be criminally convicted by the Vatican for child porn. The ex-diplomat, also wanted in the US and Canada, was convicted of downloading and distributing material.

Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, left speaks with his lawyer Roberto Borgogno. Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, left, speaks with his lawyer Roberto Borgogno

A Vatican court sentenced Carlo Alberto Capella to five years in prison for the possession and distribution of child pornography on Saturday.

The 51-year-old priest admitted to viewing images of under-aged teenagers engaging in sexual acts during a period of “fragility” and internal crisis while serving as a diplomat for the Holy See in the United States and in Canada.

He apologized to his family and the Vatican. He described the episode as little more than a “bump in the road” on his priestly vocation and appealed for leniency, explaining that he loved the priesthood and wanted to continue.

The Battle against Child Pornography

“It was never part of my priestly life before,” he told the court.

The two-day trial ended with Tribunal President Giuseppe Dalla Torre reading out the verdict, which also included a €5,000 ($5,830) fine.

Prosecutor Gian Piero Milano pushed for a harsher penalty against Capella — who could have been fined €50,000 — pointing to the “great” volume of material accessed. He said police found 40 pornographic photos and videos were found on the priest’s mobile phone.

Capella continued to view the material even after being recalled from the US by the Vatican in August 2017 after the US State Department informed the Holy See he was suspected of a “possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images.” Both the US and Canada have sought to prosecute Capella but the Vatican has refused to hand him over.

Enforcement of 2013 law

Hundreds arrested in global child porn raids

Canadian police issued a warrant for Capella’s arrest, accusing him of having accessed, possessed and distributed child porn from a church in Windsor, Ontario over Christmas 2016. He allegedly distributed the material via a social networking site.

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

His trial was the first known enforcement of a 2013 law for the Vatican City State that specifically criminalized possession and distribution of child pornography, and made it punishable with a prison sentence and a fine.

Now that his criminal trial is over Capella will be subject to a canonical hearing, which could lead to him being defrocked.

bik/jm (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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Vatican Court Sentences Cleric to 5 Years on Child Pornography Charges

New York Times

23 June 2018

By Elisabetta Povoledo

Image

Msgr. Carlo Alberto Capella, left, with his lawyer, Roberto Borgogno, in a Vatican courtroom on Saturday. Monsignor Capella was recalled from Washington in September.CreditVatican Media/ANSA, via Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — A Vatican tribunal on Saturday sentenced a former Vatican diplomat to five years in prison and a fine of about $5,800 for possessing and distributing child pornography.

The Vatican has been embroiled for decades in a global scandal involving the sexual abuse of minors, but this was the first time in modern history that a sentence had been reached in a trial of its kind. A Vatican spokeswoman said the envoy who was sentenced, Msgr. Carlo Alberto Capella, would now face a canonical trial, which could lead to his removal from the priesthood.

The trial was held over two days, and the hearings lasted less than four hours in total. The judges took just over an hour to arrive at a verdict.

Monsignor Capella remained impassive when the presiding judge, Giuseppe Dalla Torre, read out the sentence, according to reporters in the courthouse inside Vatican City.

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During trial, former Vatican diplomat admits viewing child pornography

Catholic Agency

22 June 2018

.- At the start of his Vatican City trial Friday, Msgr. Carlo Alberto Capella, a former diplomat for the Holy See, admitted to charges of the possession and distribution of child pornography while working in the U.S.

Capella, 51, a former Vatican diplomat, was recalled from the U.S. nunciature in Washington, D.C. last September after the U.S. State Department notified the Vatican of a “possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images” by a diplomat.

The first hearing in the civil trial was held the afternoon of June 22. Present alongside Capella were his psychologist, Tommaso Parisi; the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice, Roberto Zannotti; and judges Giuseppe Della Torre, Venerando Marano, and Carlo Bonzano.

In his testimony, Capella outlined the history of his diplomatic service to the Holy See and admitted his guilt, saying his crimes were the result of a “personal crisis” stemming from his transfer to Washington D.C.

Originally from Capri, Capella was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Milan and in 1993 was asked by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini to enter the diplomatic service of the Holy See.

In 2004, after studying at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, he was sent to the apostolic nunciature in India, and three years later, in 2007, was transferred to the nunciature in Hong Kong.

Capella was then transferred back too the Vatican in 2011, and worked in the Secretariat of State’s office for Relations with the States.

In his testimony, Capella said he was happy there and enjoyed his work, and that prior to his time in Washington D.C., he had never viewed pornography or expressed interest in that type of content. But when he received a call June 30, 2016, asking him to move to D.C., Capella said he was unhappy with the move, but did not say anything.

“Unfortunately out of respect to the hierarchy, out of the sense of duty, I did not create problems. Instead of making my discomfort known to them, I thanked them for the transfer,” he said during the trial.

After arriving to the U.S., Capella said he had no enthusiasm for his work. The first four months, he said, were “bland,” and he felt “empty” and “useless.”

Problems began to arise, Capella said, when he started looking for funny memes and pictures of animals online to relieve his boredom. Referring to the use of pornography, he said “this kind of morbidness was never part of my priestly life” before this time of desolation.

When questioned by the Vatican’s prosecutor and lead judge about how this boredom led to the use of child pornography, Capella said he had started to use the micro-blogging site Tumblr July 23, 2016, to find the amusing images, which led to a slow slide into pornographic images.

This eventually turned into child porn, Capella said, explaining that he began using Tumblr’s chat function to exchange images, and had “vulgar” conversations with other unmarried persons.

The U.S. State department flagged Capella’s activity and informed the Vatican of a possible violation Aug. 21, 2017.

In September of that year, Canada issued a nationwide arrest warrant for the priest, who was then recalled to the Vatican. Police in Ontario said he had accessed, possessed, and distributed child pornography while visiting Windsor over the 2016 Christmas holiday.

Msgr. Capella has been held in a Vatican jail cell since April 9, 2018, and was indicted by the Holy See June 9.

In his own testimony during the hearing, Parisi said he met Capella after the priest had come back to the Vatican in October 2017, and that the priest had specifically asked for his services.

Capella had trouble sleeping when he first came back, Parisi said, explaining that he prescribed medication to help the priest sleep. The two have held counseling session twice a week since the priest came back to Rome.

According to Parisi, Capella is “aware of his role” in the crimes he committed, and has admitted his errors.

Gianluca Gauzzi, a computer engineer who works for the Vatican Gendarme, said that during the investigation he looked through three cell phones, two USB drives, and several hard drives.

In addition to the images he found on these, Gauzzi said he found additional images on a cloud storage which had been deleted from other devices, totaling in 40-55 images in all.

Gauzzi said he divided the images into two primary categories, one for images from Japanese comics, and the other for images of children aged 14-17. At least one video showed a child depicted in an explicit sex act with an adult.

The images, Gauzzi said, had been exchanged in chats.

Capella’s trial will resume the morning of June 23.

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Former Vatican diplomat to U.S. on trial for child pornography charges

Toronto Star

Fri., June 22, 2018

VATICAN CITY—The Vatican on Friday opened the trial of a former Washington-based diplomat who was recalled last year to this city-state and indicted on charges of possessing and sharing child pornography.

The trial of Monsignor Carlo Capella marks a major test of how the Vatican’s justice system, under a reformist pontiff, will address one aspect of the abuse that has deeply scarred the Catholic Church.

A small pool of reporters was allowed to attend the trial as it began, but by late afternoon, no information about the proceedings had emerged.

Capella, who had been stationed in the Holy See’s Washington Embassy until last year, has been held recently in a cell in the Vatican’s police barracks. The Vatican, accused for years by critics of shielding alleged perpetrators from harsh punishment, took the step last year of recalling Capella from Washington — rebuffing a request from the United States to drop diplomatic immunity for Capella and have him prosecuted in a U.S. court. When the Vatican finished an investigation several weeks ago, it said in a brief statement that the evidence against Capella was “sufficient” to move to trial.

The charges Capella faces represent just one aspect of the varied abuse cases that have ensnared the church, and that have recently prompted notable gestures from Pope Francis. Two months ago, the pope apologized for his own “serious errors” in handling large-scale abuse in Chile; he later spoke of a “culture of abuse and coverup,” which some Vatican watchers described as an unprecedented papal reference to the church’s systemic problems.

The Vatican has said Capella’s case falls under its jurisdiction because he is a Holy See public official, “albeit abroad.” When the Vatican recalled the priest-diplomat last year, it did not name him in the short news release it issued. At the time, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, called it a “serious issue” and asked for a “transparent investigation.”

The State Department had notified the Vatican in August that it suspected one of its diplomats of a possible crime “related to child pornography images.” Canadian police also issued an arrest warrant for Capella, accusing him of uploading child pornography to a social network while he was visiting the country in 2016.

According to Vatican code, distributing or disseminating child pornography can be punished by up to five years of imprisonment and fines reaching 10,000 euro. Penalties can be increased, the code says, “if a considerable quantity of pornographic material” is involved.

Capella was born in the northern Italian town of Carpi and was ordained a priest in 1993, according to media reports. He joined the Vatican’s diplomatic corps in 2004, and served in India and Hong Kong.

Major trials have been rare in the Vatican, largely because it has so few citizens, but in 2013, Pope Francis established that the city-state’s court should have jurisdiction over Holy See diplomats. The closest precedent for the Capella case came when a Polish archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, was recalled in 2013 from a diplomatic posting in the Dominican Republic amid allegations of child abuse. He was later ordered to stand trial on charges of possessing child pornography, but he died before the trial began.

2 Responses to “Vatican court jails ex-diplomat Italian priest Carlo Alberto Capella for child porn” & related articles

  1. Sylvia says:

    Can you believe it? Can you honestly believe it? Monsignor Capella claims he indulged in child pornography because of a “personal crisis” which resulted from his transfer to Washington.

    That has to be one of the most pathetic excuses I have ever heard. All of sudden, out of the blue, this monsignor begins to track down and take pleasure in viewing and sharing child pornography?

    Methinks there is a little more to the Monsignor Capella story of his instantaneous fall from grace than being down in the dumps because of his transfer to Washington.

    Fall from grace aside, I’m still waiting to find out who he was visiting in Windsor Ontario. Has anyone heard or read?

  2. Rachael O Reilly says:

    Rome was simply interested in removing their”diplomat” out and away from DC to face “Vatican Justice” -whatever that means. I doubt if he will serve much if anything of his sentence as the appeals process gets under way.

    If they are serious about responding to child pornography then they should have waived his “diplomatic immunity” and delivered him into the hands of the US and or Canadian justice system.

    I very much doubt if anything substantial will happen to this cleric. He will disappear into their network of safe houses, receiving stipends, working on canon law cases and live out his days continuing to do what he has done- access child pornography.

    Such people are pathologically orientated towards this vile criminality.

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