International review Investigation

Canada: Vatican Diplomat Wanted on Child Porn Charges


This material belongs to: OCCRP.

Canadian authorities have issued a warrant to arrest a Vatican diplomat who is suspected of having accessed and spread child pornography on social media during a stay at a Church in Windsor, Ontario, the Catholic Herald reported on Sunday.

The scandal came to light after the Windsor police Service Internet Child Exploitation Unit was notified in February 2017 that child pornography had been uploaded to a social network using a computer address at a local house of worship.

Their probe identified the suspect as Carlo Capella, a 50-year-old Italian priest and Vatican diplomat who visited the church during Christmas in 2016.

At the time, Capella, who is priest since 1993, was working at the Vatican nunciature in Washington.

The US State Department informed the Vatican of the suspicions in August and asked for Capella’s diplomatic immunity to be waived in order for the prosecution in the US to go through.

The Holy See refused, saying they are conducting their own investigation. They subsequently recalled Capella from Washington in late August.

The chief prosecutor for Vatican City State “opened an investigation and has already commenced international collaboration to obtain elements relative to the case,” the Vatican said according to the National Catholic Reporter.

According to the Washington Post, under church law, the diplomat could be defrocked as a priest, and under civil law in the city-state, he faces up to two years in prison and US$ 12,000 in fines for possession of child pornography. Sentences for distribution are even stricter.