"Jesus am Kreuz, rechts vom Altar" by Amrei-Marie / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Twisted Life and Death of a Predator Priest With a Wrestling Fetish

Jun 17, 2019

By Pilar Melendez

As a New Jersey priest in the 1970s and 1980s, John Capparelli liked to arrange wrestling matches for parish boys. He gave them skimpy Speedos to wear, took pictures of them grappling, and even joined in—using the rough-housing as an excuse to sadistically grope the kids.

“Capparelli kind of played the role of being that cool adult that you hung out with,” one of his victims, Rich Fitter, told the Daily Beast last week. “I have no doubt in my mind now that he was a sociopath.”

After his sexual abuse came to light in the late 1980s, Capparelli was sent to a rehab for clergy with sexual problems, removed from parish ministry and eventually suspended from performing priestly duties. However, he continued to teach—while secretly running a porn website that featured young wrestlers.

It took two decades and several lawsuits to finally defrock Capparelli and get him ousted from the classroom. By then, he had left New Jersey and moved to a two-bedroom home in a quiet neighborhood in Henderson, Nevada, where neighbors noticed he always had a steady stream of young male visitors.

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