Pope’s butler pleads innocent to theft charge

October 3, 2012 • World News

FILE – In this file photo taken Wednesday, May 2, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI, not in photo, arrives in St. Peter’s square at the Vatican for a general audience with his then-butler Paolo Gabriele, bottom, and his personal secretary Georg Gaenswein. Paolo Gabriele took the stand Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, in a Vatican courtroom to defend himself against a charge of aggravated theft. He said he is innocent of charges of stealing the pope’s private correspondence but acknowledged he feels guilty of betraying the trust of the pontiff, whom he said he loved like a father. In other testimony Tuesday, the pope’s private secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, testified that he began having suspicions about Gabriele after he realized three documents that appeared in the journalist’s book could only have come from the office he shared with Gabriele. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI’s onetime butler declared Tuesday he was innocent of a charge of aggravated theft of the pope’s private correspondence, but acknowledged he photocopied the papers and said he feels guilty that he betrayed the trust of the pontiff he loves like a father.

Paolo Gabriele took the stand Tuesday in a Vatican courtroom to defend himself against accusations of his role in one of the most damaging scandals of Benedict’s pontificate. Prosecutors say Gabriele stole the pope’s letters and documents alleging power struggles and corruption inside the Vatican and leaked them to a journalist in an unprecedented papal security breach.

Gabriele faces four years in prison if he is found guilty, although most Vatican Login to read more

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