Levy Konigsberg is currently investigating potential claims from survivors who were sexually abused or exploited by former New Jersey Priest and public-school teacher John Capparelli.
Capparelli, who served in several parishes in the Newark Archdiocese and worked as a teacher in the Newark School District, had a long trail of sexual abuse allegations, including numerous claims that he photographed, groped, and abused young boys while they were engaged in sexualized wrestling matches orchestrated for his own gratification. Capparelli was also the subject of several lawsuits against the Newark Archdiocese and other entities accused of failing to protect victims, including at least one lawsuit that resulted in a settlement.
Capparelli is no longer alive, but the consequences of his abuse live on for numerous survivors – many of whom are now exploring their options to pursue legal action and a financial recovery of their damages under recent changes to New Jersey’s laws regarding the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases.
At Levy Konigsberg, our attorneys currently represent survivors of John Capparelli’s sexual abuse and are working with a growing number of other survivors looking to hold the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, and other responsible entities accountable. If you have a potential case, we want to help.
Levy Konigsberg has earned national recognition representing survivors nationwide in civil sexual abuse lawsuits – including claims against powerful institutions such as the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts of America. If you have questions about a potential case, call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation.
John Capparelli Named in Newark Archdiocese’s List of Credibly Accused Priests
John Capparelli (deceased) was a clergy member in the Newark Archdiocese who worked as a Priest at several parishes and a Catholic prep school before working as a teacher in the Newark School District. Capparelli also worked as a Boy Scout Camp Director in Long Lake, NY for several years in the 1980s.
In 2019, Capparelli’s name was included in a list of 188 priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse in the Newark Archdiocese. According to the Newark Archdiocese’s public List of Credibly Accused Clergy, Capparelli faced substantiated child sexual abuse allegations involving multiple victims, with accusations dating from the 1970s through the early 1990s.
Having been named to the Newark Archdiocese’s List of Credibly Accused Priests, Capparelli has a long history of sexual abuse and exploitation of minors.
According to information made available through the Church’s public disclosures, lawsuits filed by survivors, and various investigations, including a 2011 journalistic investigation published by The Star-Ledger, Capparelli’s abuse often involved the exploitation of young boys whom he persuaded to participate in a form of sexualized wrestling. As part of this wrestling, Capparelli would have boys wear speedos or other revealing clothing, photograph them, and grope them. Capparelli has also been accused of sleeping with and molesting minors.
Capparelli’s History of Abuse & Exploitation
Capparelli’s history of exploitation and sexual misconduct with minors spans decades and includes claims of abuse during his time at all three Newark parishes where he was assigned, a Catholic prep school, and the Boy Scout camp where he served as camp director. While Capparelli has not been formally accused of abuse during his time as a teacher, authorities suspect there are other victims who have yet to come forward.
Here are some details about Caparelli’s past:
- Capparelli was ordained in 1980. He served at three parishes within the Newark Archdiocese (Our Lady of Fatima in North Bergen, Holy Trinity in Westfield, and St. Theresa in Kenilworth), a preparatory school (Oratory Prep in Summit), and Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, where he was a temporary chaplain. During his time with the Catholic Church, he was commonly referred to as “Father John.”
- In the 1980s, Capparelli served as Camp Director at the Sabattis Scout Reservation, a summer camp run by the Boy Scouts of America in Long Lake, NY.
- In 1989, Capparelli was removed from parish ministry and sent to a treatment center in Jemez Springs, New Mexico for several months at the request of then Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.
- In 1992, Capparelli was suspended from all ministry. He was formally dismissed (laicized) from the church sometime around 2013.
- In 1999, Capparelli formed a corporation (NHB Productions Inc.) that ran a website selling videos of young men engaged in erotic wrestling. The website was taken down after Capparelli was named in a 2011 lawsuit.
- In 1990, after being removed from parish ministry, Capparelli became an adjunct math professor at Seton Hall University. He remained an adjunct professor at Seton Hall until 2009.
- In 1993, a year after he was suspended from ministry, Capparelli became a public school teacher in Newark. He taught at Malcom X Shabazz High School and later Barringer 9 Success Academy (also known as Barringer Prep).
- In July 2013, two years after the NJ Star-Ledger reported on a lawsuit against Capparelli that prompted over 20 additional accusers to step forward with their own complaints and stores about the priest, Capparelli agreed to a settlement with the New Jersey State Board of Examiners that resulted in the revocation of his teaching certificate.
Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Naming Capparelli
Capparelli has been named in several lawsuits filed by survivors whom he sexually abused. These lawsuits include claims brought against the Newark Archdiocese and the Boy Scouts of America over abuse dating back decades. Some examples include:
- In July 2011, a Somerset County man filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Newark, the Boy Scouts of America, and former Newark Archbishop Theodore McCarrick over Capparelli’s exploitative and predatory behaviors that occurred at each of Capparelli’s parishes, a Boy Scout Camp, and a vacation home in New York. The suit alleged that the victim had been groomed by Capparelli into participating in a “different type of wrestling” he called submission or no-holds-barred wrestling when he was 13 years old, and often shared a bed with him on trips and in church rectories. The lawsuit was later settled for an undisclosed amount.
- In 2021, a survivor sexually abused by Capparelli over 40 years before filed a lawsuit in Essex County Superior Court against the Newark Archdiocese and the Holy Trinity Church in Westfield. The suit alleged that Capparelli engaged in “unpermitted sexual contact” and that church leaders submitted to the Church’s culture of concealment and cover up by failing to report the abuse.
These and other allegations against Capparelli have paved the way for survivors who are now seeking justice under New Jersey’s recently passed Child Victims Act, which expanded the statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse lawsuits.
Most importantly, they have provided critical evidence to support claims that the Newark Archdiocese and the Boy Scouts of America overwhelmingly failed to protect victims. This includes failures to act on complaints and reports of Capparelli’s behavior, failures to properly investigate complaints, and failures to report accusations against Capparelli to authorities.
Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Statute of Limitations in New Jersey
In 2019, New Jersey lawmakers passed groundbreaking legislation to expand the statute of limitations in civil sexual abuse cases and provide survivors with more time to file claims.
The legislation, which came in response to sweeping allegations against the Catholic Church and a growing understanding about the delayed discovery survivors face when processing abuse that occurred when they were children, provides a significant amount of time for survivors to step forward.
Under New Jersey law, survivors of child sexual abuse can file claims:
- Until the age of 55; or
- Within seven years of first realizing that abuse caused them harm.
As many cases of sexual abuse in New Jersey Catholic Churches occurred decades ago, the recent legislative change open the door for numerous survivors to file lawsuits that were previously barred by the statute of limitations.
At Levy Konigsberg, our sexual abuse team has helped fight for survivors in numerous states where similar legislation has been and is being passed. If you have a potential sexual abuse lawsuit involving John Capparelli during his time with the Catholic Church or Boy Scouts of America, we can evaluate the statute of limitations in your case and whether you have grounds to file a claim.
Do I Have a Case?
You may have grounds to pursue legal action if:
- You were sexually abused or exploited by John Capparelli.
- The abuse occurred while Capparelli was appointed to a parish, prep school, or other ministerial position in New Jersey, while he worked with the Boy Scouts of America, or while he was employed as a teacher in the Newark School District.
Capparelli was never formally charged with a crime in connection to his abuse and was shot and killed in 2019 by a man who had answered an ad Capparelli had posted on Craigslist for men to participate in wrestling. However, because sexual abuse lawsuits are civil claims that focus solely on holding defendants liable for damages, survivors of Capparelli’s abuse are still eligible to pursue claims.
How Much is My Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Worth?
While the value of your potential claim will depend on the specific facts involved, survivors of sexual abuse are generally entitled to a financial recovery of their damages. Given the complex effects of sexual abuse, and the fact that abuse has a long-term if not lifelong impact on victims, these damages can be substantial.
Recoverable damages in sexual abuse cases may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Costs associated with mental health treatment/therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish, fear, embarrassment, and anxiety
- Long-term mental health issues, including PTSD and depression
- Lost income and other economic losses
Call For a FREE Consultation: (800) 315-3806
Levy Konigsberg represents survivors of adult and child sexual abuse throughout New Jersey and beyond and has become known for litigating these complex cases against some of the country’s most powerful institutions.
If you have questions about a potential sexual abuse lawsuit involving John Capparelli and how we can help, we encourage you to contact us. Our firm offers FREE and confidential consultations and works on contingency, which means there is no up-front cost to hire our team and no fee unless we win.
To speak with a New Jersey sexual abuse lawyer, call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online.