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Vatileaks butler given 18 months jail

Sentence halved and pardon expected for Gabriele

Gabriele used his unique access to copy and steal highly sensitive Vatican documents Gabriele used his unique access to copy and steal highly sensitive Vatican documents
  • ucanews.com staff, Bangkok
  • Vatican City
  • October 7, 2012
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Pope Benedict's ex-butler Paolo Gabriele was found guilty of theft yesterday and sentenced to 18 months in jail by the Vatican criminal court.

Presiding judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre first handed down a three-year sentence but reduced it immediately, citing Gabriele's heartfelt expression of remorse and previous record of service to the Church.

Gabriele will serve the sentence under house arrest in his Vatican City apartment. It is also widely expected that the Pope may grant him a full pardon. This speculation was expressed by both Cardinal de Paolis, a member of the Vatican Supreme Court, and Vatican press spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.

During the week-long trial the court heard that Gabriele, the man at the center of the Vatileaks scandal, used his unique access to Vatican offices and the Papal apartments to remove hundreds of  Vatican documents and letters - some of them so confidential that the Pope had handwritten "to be destroyed" on them in German - and passed them to a journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi.

The documents, which were leaked to the media over several weeks in early 2012, touched on issues that proved highly embarrassing to the Vatican.

They included allegations of Vatican mismanagement and nepotism as well as details of a power struggle between Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican's Secretary of State and Archbishop Vigano, who was transferred to the post of Papal nuncio to the United States, despite his impassioned plea to be allowed to stay in Rome.

The Pope himself ordered the inquiry which led to Gabriele's arrest.

Given the opportunity to address the judges before they decided on their verdict yesterday, Gabriele said: "The thing I feel most strongly is the conviction of having acted out of visceral love for the Church of Christ and of its leader on earth.

I do not feel I am a thief."

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Cardinal predicts that Pope will pardon Vatileaks butler
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