CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 14 September 2019

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Magistrates order trial for papal assistant involved in VatiLeaks

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Vatican magistrates have formally indicted Pope Benedict XVI’s personal assistant, Paolo Gabriele, on charges of aggravated theft, as well as a computer technician from the Vatican Secretariat of State on minor charges of aiding Gabriele after he stole Vatican correspondence. 

The publication on August 13 of the decision of Piero Bonnet, the Vatican’s investigating judge, included for the first time the naming of a second suspect, Claudio Sciarpelleti, the Secretariat of State employee. 

Vatican police found an envelope from Gabriele in Sciarpelleti’s desk and arrested him, according to the documents explaining Bonnet’s judgment. 

While the computer expert gave “contrasting versions of the facts” to investigators, in the end it was determined that there was enough evidence to bring him to trial on a charge of aiding and abetting Gabriele after the fact. 

The Vatican magistrates did not set a date for the trial or trials, but Vatican spokesperson, Father Federico Lombardi, said it would not be set before September 20 because the Vatican court is in recess from August 14 until that date. 

Father Lombardi said the charge against Sciarpelleti carries a light sentence, which is unlikely to include any jail time. Pope Benedict could have intervened at any time to stop the investigation and legal process and he still has the option of clearing the two without a trial.

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