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Vatican priest arrested on child porn suspicions

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By Susan McFarland, UPI

The Vatican arrested one of its diplomats Saturday on suspicion of violating laws against child pornography.

Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, who has been under investigation for child pornography possession and distribution, had recently served at the Holy See's embassy in Washington. He is being held in a cell in the gendarmerie's barracks, according to a statement from the Vatican.

[post_ads]Last September the Vatican announced that it had recalled Capella, who was not publicly named at the time while officials investigated in the case. The Vatican was informed Aug. 21 by the U.S. State Department about the case.

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had urged the Holy See to be "forthcoming with more details" and called for an "immediate, thorough, and transparent investigation ... in cooperation with law enforcement."

Capella also had a warrant for his arrest in Canada, issued by police in Windsor, Ontario, for allegedly uploading child pornography to a social network in 2016.

According to the 2013 law under which he was arrested, if found guilty Capella could receive "one to five years imprisonment and a fine from $3,000 to $61,000. The penalties could increase if "a considerable quantity of pornographic material is involved," according to the Vatican.

Capella was ordained a priest in Milan in 1993. He entered the diplomatic corps in 2004 and has previously worked as a diplomat in Hong Kong and as the Holy See's liaison to Italy.

If the case goes to trial, it would be the first criminal trial for child pornography in Vatican City.

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

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