After a prolonged investigation, Vatican police have arrested a Catholic priest on the suspicion of possessing child pornography.
Carlo Alberto Capella was arrested under a Vatican law that penalises anyone who ‘distributes, disseminates, transmits, imports, exports, offers or sells child pornography.’
Capella was serving as part of the Vatican's diplomatic corps at the Holy See’s embassy in Washington when he was recalled by Vatican from the US in September 2017. The recall followed United States (US) authorities intimating Vatican about a possible violation of child pornography laws. In 2014, the Vatican had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child under which it is obligated to ban child pornography.
After he entered the Vatican’s corps of diplomats in 2004, Capella served in India and later in Hong Kong before another stint at the Vatican.
The US government had asked for the waiving of Capella's diplomatic immunity so that they could proceed with his prosecution in the US, but the request was refused.
After he was recalled from US, Canadian police issued a warrant for his arrest and charged him with possessing and distributing child pornography online.
Pope Francis's predecessor Pope Benedict XVI anointed Capella the title of Monsignor in 2008. He was granted the rank "Chaplain of his Holiness".
According to The Wall Street Journal, the trial of Capella is likely to be a test case for Pope Francis's repeated commitment to combat clerical sex abuse after Vatican was hit by a string of sex scandals, many involving allegations of child abuse.
In 2015, Jozef Wesołowski, a former archbishop and the Holy See’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, died before he was due to go on trial for pedophilia. The former archbishop was charged for sexually abusing children while serving as the ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Wesołowski was also accused of possessing child pornography at the Vatican.
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