Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Trial date set for Pope's butler

The pope's butler will go on trial next week over the embarrassing theft of papal documents that exposed alleged corruption at the Holy See's highest levels.

Paolo Gabriele, who as butler in the papal apartments had served for several years as one of the pope's closest aides, is accused of grand theft.

Also on trial is Claudio Sciarpelletti, who has been temporarily suspended from his post as a computer specialist in the Holy See office of secretariat of state. He faces a a lesser charge of aiding and abetting the crime.

Judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre said the first session would begin on Saturday, September 29.

According to last month's indictment, Gabriele, who is under house arrest in Vatican City and who was relieved of his post, said he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to take the documents to shed light on what he called evil in the church.

The documents, which have painted a picture of alleged infighting and corruption at the Vatican, were revealed in the Italian media this year after Gabriele allegedly passed them on.

The Vatican has promised a public trial by a three-judge panel but said no still or video cameras will be permitted.

Vatican officials say they are still looking into the possibility of other accomplices.

Conviction on the theft charge could bring up to six years in jail.

Besides allegedly pilfering the documents, Gabriele is also accused of taking a cheque for 100,000 euros made out to the pope and donated by a Spanish Catholic university.

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