Capella, who was a former Vatican diplomat to Washington, 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.
Canadian police, after having investigated Capella for almost two years, also said he had allegedly been uploading child pornography to various websites in December 2016.
The 50-year-old priest, who was arrested by the Vatican in April, is expected to face trial on June 22 for possessing and sharing “a large quantity” of child pornography, according to Reuters. He could face charges from both the Catholic Church and the Holy See.
Capella was one of four staff members who has immunity from U.S. prosecution, and the Vatican has denied U.S. efforts to prosecute Capella in an American court. However, the U.S. State Department’s information regarding Capella has been passed along to the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice.
If convicted, Capella could face dismissal from the clerical state as a priest and criminal penalties, including time in prison and over $10,000 in fines. Other penalties could also apply.
Capella, who was ordained a priest in Milan in 1993, is from Italy’s northern city of Carpi. In 2004, he was admitted into the Vatican’s corps of diplomats, where he served in India, Hong Kong, and the Vatican. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI gave him the title of monsignor.
He is currently being held in a cell in the barracks of the Vatican Gendarmerie.
In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI added the possession of child pornography to the list of “most grave delicts,” which are crimes handled by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and can result in dismissal from the clerical state.
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