Priest Who Teaches Students Accused of Abuse

By Jen Maxfield
October 17, 2011

[with video]

NEWARK, N.J. (WABC) -- A priest accused of exploiting children is now teaching high schoolers.

Parents are now seeking answers from administrators about the priest.

The accuser, Andrew Dundorf, spoke with Eyewitness News Monday afternoon.

He says that as a teenager, Father John Capparelli sexually abused him.

He is concerned that Capparelli is still in contact with his children, as a 9th grade teacher.

Andrew Dundorf was 13-years-old when he says Father John Capparelli started abusing him.

According to a lawsuit filed in July, Dundorf says Father John asked him to wrestle other boys while wearing skimpy bathing suits, then photographed the matches.

Later, Dundorf says the priest groped him during sleepovers.

During his years working as a priest, Capparelli worked at Our Lady of Fatima in North Bergen, Oratory Preparatory School in Summit, Our Lady of Peace in New Providence and the Church of the Holy Trinity in Westfield.

For reasons the Newark Archdiocese will not specify, Father Capparelli left the ministry in the mid-80s and was suspended in 1992.

He went to a treatment center, returned home, and became a teacher.

For almost two decades, Capparelli has taught math to high school students in Newark, first at Shabazz High School and currently at the Barringer Ninth Grade Academy.

Parents who learned about the accusation against Capparelli can't understand why he's still allowed to work with children.

"Why is he in school, it's a danger, the kids are in danger," said Elizabeth Mojica, a parent.

"They're not doing good enough background checks if this guy got hired again," said Natasha Myers, a parent.

Eyewitness News tried contacting Capparelli at his Belleville home, but he wasn't there.

Newark school officials tell Eyewitness News that in 20 years of teaching, Capparelli has a spotless record.

The only accuser to ever come forward is Dundorf, and that was just three months ago.

The president of the Newark Teacher's Union tells Eyewitness News, "John Capparelli has been a leader in the Newark District among his peers and students. His record is exemplary. The allegation is 30 years old, it just doesn't add up."

Capparelli's lawyer says that he is still employed at the school.


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