Vatican police arrest ex-diplomat over 'child pornography'

After Monsignor Capella was recalled from the USA, police in Canada issued a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography online. If indicted the monsignor will have to stand trial in the Vatican.

"The accused is being detained in a cell in the barracks of the Gendarmerie Corps, available to the judicial authorities", the statement said.

The following month, police in Canada issued a arrest warrant for Capella. The Vatican did not identify the cleric, but Italian news media reports and an American official familiar with the investigation said it was Monsignor Capella. His arrest comes after an eight-month investigation by the Holy See, which was first informed of a potential problem by the US State Department previous year.

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Capella was ordained a priest in Milan in 1993 and entered the diplomatic corps in 2004. He has pledged zero tolerance but critics say he has not done enough to hold to account bishops who allegedly covered up abuse. He served on the Italy desk in the Vatican's secretariat of state and was part of the official delegation that negotiated a tax treaty with Italy before being posted to the U.S. Embassy previous year.

He is being held under paragraph 3 of article 10 of Law 8, which applies the penalty of at least one to five years imprisonment and a fine of 2,500 to 50,000 euro for the distribution, dissemination, transmission, or sale of child pornography, or its possession for these purposes.

In 2015, Jozef Wesolowski, a former archbishop and the Holy See's former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, died of a heart attack while awaiting his Vatican trial for sexual abuse of minors and possession of child pornography.

  • Joey Payne