Vatican orders butler to stand trial, charges second man in Vatileaks scandal

August 13, 2012

(Carlo Fusco, lawyer of pope’s personal butler Paolo Gabriele, speaks during a news conference at the Vatican July 21, 2012.  REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

The Vatican on Monday ordered Pope Benedict’s former butler to stand trial on charges of aggravated theft for leaking documents alleging widespread corruption and for the first time revealed a second man was accused of being involved in the case.

In a 35-page document on a scandal which has rocked the Holy See since butler Paolo Gabriele was arrested last May, the Vatican said he saw himself as an agent of the Holy Spirit.

Computer expert Claudio Sciarpelletti, a layman, had also been charged on lesser charges of aiding and abetting a crime, the document said.

It alleged Sciarpelletti was a close friend of Gabriele and that investigators had found a sealed envelope in his desk addressed to the butler which contained material published in a book based on the leaks.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, however, downplayed Sciarpelletti’s role, saying he had only spent one night in jail at the start of the investigation and had been suspended from his job but not fired. If convicted, he would get “a light sentence,” Lombardi said.

According to the document, Gabriele told investigators he had acted because he saw “evil and corruption everywhere in the Church” and wanted to help root it out “because the pope was not sufficiently informed”.

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