Pope’s Butler Found Guilty, Sentenced to 18 Months

Posted October 6th, 2012 at 6:55 am (UTC-5)
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The Vatican Court has found Pope Benedict's former butler guilty of aggravated theft for stealing the pontiff's personal papers and leaking them to a journalist.

Judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre on Saturday read aloud the three-judge panel's sentence of 18 months in prison for Paolo Gabriele, a 46-year-old father of three. Gabriele's co-defendant, a Vatican computer expert, will be tried separately.

Judge Torre initially gave Gabriele a three-year sentence but immediately cut it to 18 months in consideration of past service and because he has no criminal record.

Gabriele confessed to stealing personal papers from the pope and passing them to a journalist writing a book on alleged corruption in the church. The incident is unprecedented in the modern history of the Vatican, the world's smallest state.

Gabriele has said he was disgusted with the “evil and corruption” in the church. He has written to the pope, asking for forgiveness.

Many Vatican observers say they expect Pope Benedict to pardon Gabriele.