Pope's ex-butler jailed for 18 months for stealing

Last Updated: Sat, Oct 06, 2012 19:42 hrs

London: Pope Benedict's former butler was Saturday jailed for 18 months for stealing the pontiff's private documents and leaking them to a journalist.

Paolo Gabriele's leak to an Italian journalist of sensitive documents, some of them alleging corruption in the Vatican, caused one of the biggest crises of Pope Benedict's papacy, Daily Mail reported.

He was convicted two hours after a three-judge panel began deliberating his fate Saturday. The prosecution had sought three years in prison for him.

In his verdict Judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre said the sentence was reduced because of mitigating circumstances including the fact that Gabriele had no previous record.

Gabriele stole thousands of highly sensitive documents the pontiff had marked "to be destroyed" and compromised Vatican security through his actions, the court heard.

In his final appeal, Gabriele told the court he acted completely out of deep, 'visceral' love for the Roman Catholic Church and the pope he once worked for.

"I don't feel like a thief," he said.

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