Pope’s Butler to Stand Trial for Theft

Posted August 13th, 2012 at 12:05 pm (UTC-5)
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A Vatican judge has ordered Pope Benedict's former butler to stand trial on charges of aggravated theft for allegedly leaking secret documents to Italian journalists.

The prosecutor said Monday Paolo Gabriele, acted out of a desire to combat “evil and corruption everywhere in the Church” and wanted to help root it out “because the pope was not sufficiently informed.''

If found guilty, Gabriele, who worked in the pope's private apartments serving him meals and helping him dress, could face six years in jail. The judge also ordered Claudio Sciarpelletti to stand trial. He is a layman computer expert in the Secretariat of State office, who is charged with aiding and abetting Gabriele.

The Vatican has promised a public trial. No date was immediately announced.

The scandal has embarrassed the Vatican, exposing infighting at high church levels.

The scandal broke in January when Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi revealed letters from a former top Vatican administrator who begged the pope not to transfer him for having exposed alleged corruption that cost the Holy See millions of dollars. The prelate (Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano) was transferred and is now the Vatican's ambassador in Washington.

In May, Nuzzi published an entire book based on new documentation, including the pope's personal correspondence with his private secretary.