Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, who served the Vatican in US and Canada, faces 12 years in prison if convicted
Reuters in the Vatican City
The Vatican said on Saturday its police had arrested one of its Washington diplomats who is suspected of possessing images of child sexual abuse in the US and Canada.
A statement identified the accused as Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella and said he was arrested on Saturday in the Vatican after a warrant was issued by the Holy See’s chief magistrate at the end of an investigation.
The Vatican statement said Capella, who was recalled from the Vatican embassy in Washington last August, was arrested according to articles of a 2013 law signed by the pope. The articles cited by the statement related to images of child sexual abuse.
If indicted, the monsignor will have to stand trial in the Vatican and faces up to 12 years in jail.
The US state department notified the Holy See in August of a possible violation of laws relating to child abuse images by a member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See accredited to Washington, the Vatican said in September.
A spokesman said in September that the US had requested that the man’s diplomatic immunity be waived but the Vatican refused.
Capella entered the diplomatic corps in 2004 and before serving in Washington he held diplomatic posts in Hong Kong and Italy.
After he was recalled to Rome, police in Windsor, Canada said they had issued an arrest warrant for him on suspicion of possessing and distributing images of child abuse on the internet.
Capella’s case the worst involving a diplomat since 2013 when former Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski
faced charges of paying boys for sexual acts, downloading and buying paedophile material while he was the Vatican’s ambassador in the Dominican Republic.
He was recalled to Rome by the Vatican, arrested, and stripped of his duties after an investigation by Dominican magistrates. He died in hospital in 2015 at the age of 67 before his trial at a Vatican court could begin.