Monday, August 13, 2012

Vatican whispers of corruption and spying after charges for Pope's butler

VATICAN CITY // A Vatican judge yesterday ordered the pope's butler and a fellow lay employee to stand trial for allegedly pilfering documents from Pope Benedict XVI's private apartment, a scandal that embarrassed the Vatican and exposed infighting and alleged corruption at the highest levels.

The indictment accused Paolo Gabriele, the butler arrested at the Vatican in May, of grand theft, a charge that carries one to six years in jail on conviction if the pope does not choose to pardon his once-trusted aide.
While the Vatican had insisted throughout the investigation that Mr Gabriele, a laymen who lives with his family in Vatican City, was the only person under investigation, the indictment also orders trial for Claudio Sciarpelletti. He is a layman and computer expert in the state secretariat office and is charged with aiding and abetting Mr Gabriele.
The Vatican has promised a public trial. The Rev Federico Lombardi, a spokesman, said that both defendants would be tried together before a three-judge panel late next mont at the earliest, since the Vatican tribunal is on summer recess.
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