It has been nearly one year since renowned Rittenhouse Square chef Alex Capasso was arrested on child pornography charges, and he has remained in federal detention awaiting trial. In June, Capasso’s lawyer filed a motion asking the judge to allow the accused pedophile to move into his parent’s house in Collingswood, and Capasso showed up in Camden’s federal courthouse on Monday to learn his fate.
In the motion, defense attorney Gilbert Scutti argued that Capasso, 43, is not a danger to the community and that his current community — meaning prison — “poses a substantial danger to him.”
In light of the allegations against Capasso, which include charges that he sent pornographic images of children using his phone and computer, Scutti stressed that there would be no computer in the parent’s house and that Capasso would not have a phone. As Capasso sat next to him wearing a green prison uniform and black glasses, Scutti tried to sum up the charges against Capasso as a “computer electronics crime.”
But Assistant United States Attorney Diana Carrig wasn’t having it. “This is not an electronics crime,” she countered, later adding that Capasso “preyed upon very very young children.”
Carrig described some of the evidence that has been gathered against Capasso, including at least 30 images and videos of a 6-year-old female child, identified as “Minor Girl 1,” as well as two images of a young boy, and indicated that her office intends to prove that Capasso’s hand and genitals appear in some of the videos. She also claimed that Capasso was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl when he was 23 years old, although that case did not result in a conviction.
“This is a man who has shown very little regard for children,” Carrig told the judge before bringing up Capasso’s own daughter, who is 8 months old. Previous court documents allege that part of Capasso’s electronic communication with an undercover agent included his sexual desire for his baby daughter, who was unborn at the time.
“He explicitly described the horrible things he intended to do to that child,” Carrig said.
Then the mother of “Minor Girl 1” asked to be heard. She read the following statement in open court:
I am the mother of child girl one. I am purposefully not stating my name in order to continue to protect the identity of my daughter. I am here along with my husband, child girl one’s father.
We are here to implore you to not allow Alex Capasso out of prison. Alex is a violent sociopath, who I believe would try to harm my family if given the opportunity.
While he was in a relationship with my sister, he used extreme physical, sexual, and verbal abuse against my sister. He made threats to kill my children, my husband, myself, my mother, and my nephew if she ever told anyone about the crimes he was committing.
He would send text messages to my sister containing my address, to make sure she knew he knew where I live.
Despite what is being said today, Alex Capasso, is a horrible, violent, soulless person, who would not think twice about causing extreme harm to a person.
He is asking to be allowed out of prison because he doesn’t feel safe. The purpose of prison is to keep society safe from violent pedophile predators like him. If the choice here today is between the safety of a pedophile and the safety of our family and children, then we have faith the court to make the right decision.
The judge swiftly denied Capasso’s request for release, ruling that the prosecution sufficiently demonstrated that he is a danger to society.
Also on the agenda was Capasso’s arraignment following his indictment by a grand jury on July 6th. The grand jury charged Capasso with conspiracy to engage in the sexual exploitation of a child, several counts of distribution of child pornography, and possession of child pornography. The conspiracy charge alone carries a maximum sentence of 30 years.
With his family in the room sitting behind him, Capasso, through his attorney, pleaded not guilty.
With reporting by Maria McGeary.
Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.
Article source: http://www.phillymag.com/news/2016/07/12/alex-capasso/