Pope Benedict’s Butler Paolo Gabriele Sentenced To 18 Months Behind Bars

Paolo Gabriele, who was at the center of the “Vatileaks” scandal, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison by a Vatican City court for aggravated theft. Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s ex-butler, was convicted of taking confidential documents from the Pope’s residence and leaking them to the media. He was also ordered to pay the costs of the trial.

According to NBC, “Gabriele was actually sentenced to the three years in prison requested by the prosecution, but this was reduced to 18 months due to his belief he was acting in good faith, clean record, and admission of guilt.” The maximum sentence would have been eight years.

Gabriele’s lawyer indicated that he will not pursue an appeal.

The leaked papers formed the basis of a book about alleged Vatican corruption. Gabriele considered himself a whistleblower rather than a thief.

Gabriele may or may not have to serve his prison sentence in an actual lockup. He is currently under house arrest in his Vatican City apartment, and the possibility of a pardon from Benedict XVI exists, according to CNN:

“It is not yet clear whether the former butler will serve the full sentence in an Italian prison or whether it may be suspended. He could also be pardoned by the pope, of whom he has asked forgiveness for his actions.”

CNN adds that “prison terms handed down by the court are served in the Italian prison system under an agreement between Vatican City and Italy, since there are no long-term detention facilities within the tiny city-state.”

NBC aired this report on the Paolo Gabriele trial before the verdict was handed down: