Vatican: Pope's Butler Is Not a Scapegoat

By Peter Mayer
Sacramento Bee
June 11, 2012

Pope Benedict's butler remains the only person under investigation for the recent theft of Vatican documents, but he is not being treated as a "scapegoat," the pontiff's spokesman said Monday.

"It seems to me definitively clear that the notion of a scapegoat does not reflect reality," Father Federico Lombardi said.

He again denied reports in the Italian media that some church officials, including cardinals - as well as one or more journalists - are also being treated as suspects in the so-called Vatileaks case.

Butler Paolo Gabriele, 46, was taken into custody on May 25 after confidential files were found in the apartment he shares with his family. He was formally questioned for the first time by a Vatican magistrate last week.

But Lombardi, speaking at a briefing on Monday, said any fresh questioning of the butler "was not imminent" as investigators needed more time.

In the meantime, Gabriele would remain in custody as Vatican authorities consider a house arrest request lodged by his lawyers.

The butler, who is a married father of three, would however continue to be allowed to meet his family, as well as attend Catholic mass, Lombardi said.

The Vatican has said that, if convicted, Gabriele could face up to eight years in prison. He would be eligible for a pardon from the pontiff.

Some of the documents allegedly stolen by Gabriele are believed to be the same as those leaked to Italian media in recent months.








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