Vatican magistrates order trial for papal assistant accused of theft
Published: August 13, 2012
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Vatican magistrates have formally indicted Pope Benedict XVI's personal assistant, Paolo Gabriele, on charges of aggravated theft and have indicted a computer technician from the Vatican Secretariat of State on minor charges of aiding Gabriele after he stole Vatican correspondence. The publication Aug. 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 Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said it would not be set before Sept. 20 because the Vatican court is in recess Aug. 14-Sept. 20. Father Lombardi said the charge against Sciarpelleti carries a "very 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 laymen without a trial.
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