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Pope Benedict’s butler to face trial for stealing letters

Monday August 13, 2012 11:46:46 PM, RIA Novosti

Vatican: Pope Benedict XVI’ butler Paolo Gabriele, suspected of stealing the pontiff’s documents, will go on trial, said a Vatican spokesperson Monday.

Gabriele, 46, was arrested May 23 on charges of stealing documents from the Pope’s suite.

The butler, an influential member of the Pope’s inner circle, was arrested during an investigation into the leak of papal documents into Italian media.

Another suspect in the case is computer expert Claudio Sciarpelletti, a lay employee in the Secretariat of State office, who was also arrested in May. He is charged with aiding Gabriele.

Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi said that along with the Pontiff’s documents, Gabriele was also in possession of valuables, such as a cheque for 100,000 euros (about $123,500) made out to the Pope, a golden nugget and a rare book.

Lombardi said the case is still being investigated and the man faces up to six years in prison.

Gabriele was held in his Vatican apartment, where he lived with his wife and three children. A search revealed several boxes with confidential documents, including the Pope’s private letters, and copying equipment.

The documents have been published or cited in the Italian media, creating problems for the Holy See or, the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic church in Rome.

It was earlier reported that Gabriele could face up to 30 years in prison for leaking the documents, an offense that might be equated to undermining the Vatican’s state security.












 

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