Pope’s Butler, Paolo Gabriele, Pleads Not-Guilty in Vatileaks Scandal
Oct 02, 2012 01:10 PM EDT
(Photo : Reuters )
The butler of Pope Benedict XVI, Paolo Gabriele took to stands at Vatican courtroom on Tuesday and pleads not-guilty on charges of aggravated theft. Gabriele is being indicted for stealing and leaking papal documents to the press. He could face up to four years in prison if convicted.
According to a report by Yahoo News, Gabriele is likely to receive a papal pardon if he is convicted.
In May, Gabriele leaked a number of private papal documents to the media in order to reveal allegations of corruption and various tiffs within the Vatican. The scandal was soon called "Vatileaks," a reference to the infamous WikiLeaks, in which Julian Assange leaked State secrets. Gabriel claims that he released the documents to reveal the "evil and corruption" within the church, according to the Associated Press.
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Gabriele was arrested on May 23 for "aggravated theft," he spent two months in confinement, after which he was put under house arrest ever since. If convicted the 46-year-old could face up to four years in prison.
Earlier, Vatican Judge Piero Antonio Bonnet announced that Gabriel could be charged with additional charges of "aggravating factors" can face eight years in jail.
In addition to Gabriele's indictment, a Vatican computer technician is also being put on trial for being an accomplice to Gabriel. But a statement from the Vatican reveals that Claudio Sciarpelletti will face only a minor punishment.
The Vatican also released a statement saying that investigation on others involved in the scandal is still going.
Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican Spokesman told the Guardian, "Magistrates do not believe they have finished their investigations...This is a partial conclusion."
In May, after his arrest, Gabriele admitted to sending the documents in question to the press, telling journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi that "I reached the point of no return and could not control myself anymore," referring to the corruption going on within the holy institution. Nuzzi, in turn published all the documents in his best-selling book Sua Santita (His Holiness) in January. The goal of the book as well as Gabriele was to steer "the church back on the right track," as reported by the Washington Post.
The Pope called the allegations against the Vatican saddening and reprimanded the media for reporting the accusations in an "exaggerated" and "gratuitous" fashion according to The Washington Times.
Gabriele has been the Pope's personal butler since 2006. His involvement in the affair stirred up a media frenzy, which soon deemed the scandal as "vatileaks" correlating it to the famous "wikileaks" scandal, in which whistle blowers including the very popular Julian Assange revealed State secrets in a battle of transparency and openness between governments and civilians.