Vatican computer tech convicted in press leaks trial

Vatican City, Nov 10, 2012 / 11:31 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Claudio Sciarpelletti has been sentenced to two months in prison by the Vatican court for his role in the theft of confidential papal documents in the so-called Vatileaks case.

The court found the Vatican computer technician guilty Nov. 10 of aiding and abetting former butler to the Pope, Paolo Gabriele, in his theft of sensitive documents.

Sciarpelletti was originally sentenced to four months in prison, but his sentence was reduced due to extenuating circumstances.

His sentence comes as part of the Vatican’s investigation into the theft of personal and confidential documents belonging to Pope Benedict XVI which were then leaked to a journalist who published them in a best-selling book.

Gabriele was given an 18-month prison sentence in a separate trial that ended in October. He will serve out his sentence in a Vatican Gendarmerie prison cell instead of in an Italian facility.

Sciarpelletti, 48, was arrested for a short time in May after his lawyer said an anonymous tip led to the search of his desk. An envelope was found addressed to Gabriele containing copies of documents that had been leaked to the Italian media.

Gianluca Benedetti, who represented Sciarpelletti in the case, argued in court that his client was in an “emotional state” when he gave confused and contradictory testimony to investigators, leading to the charges leveled against him.

However, while Judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre noted the computer technician’s long years of service at the Vatican, he said the court concluded Sciarpelletti had helped Gabriele “elude the investigations of the authorities” at the Vatican.

The judge ordered that the computer technician’s criminal conviction not appear on his permanent record.

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