Trial of Pope’s Former Butler Caps Turbulent Year for Church

The New York Times


Published: September 29, 2012

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler, Paolo Gabriele, went on trial on Saturday on charges of stealing the pope’s confidential papers and leaking them to the press, an unprecedented security breach that set off an embarrassingly public airing of back-room intrigue and allegations of corruption at an institution known for its secrecy.

Mr. Gabriele appeared tired but serene throughout the two-hour hearing, which was held in a sparsely furnished, wood-paneled courtroom in a Vatican City palazzo behind the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The morning was taken up with legal formalities, and the civil court — formed by a panel of three judges — upheld motions to strike some of the evidence gathered against Mr. Gabriele and to split off the trial of a co-defendant, a Vatican computer expert charged with aiding and abetting.

A spokesman for the Vatican, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the atmosphere in the courtroom was “serene.” Television cameras and recording equipment were not admitted, and a pool of eight reporters allowed inside briefed other journalists after the hearing.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.