Vatileaks suspects receive Sept. 29 court date

The two men charged in the "Vatileaks" case will go to trial Sept. 29, according to a communique released Sept. 17 by the Vatican Press Office.

Paolo Gabriele, the Pope's former butler, was charged with theft, having been suspected of leaking confidential papal and curial documents to the press. Claudio Sciarpelleti, a computer technician at the Secretariat of State, was charged with aiding and abetting Gabriele, a lesser charge.

Sciarpelleti is suspended but is still an employee at the Vatican's Secretariat of State Department.

Gabriele could face six years in jail if he is found guilty.

On Aug. 13 Judge Piero A. Bonnet sent the pair for trial. The two will be tried jointly by a three-judge panel.

The Vatileaks scandal broke in May 2012, and involved numerous documents about the internal workings of the Vatican being leaked to Italian news outlets for a period of months.

In May, journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi released a new book entitled "Sua Santita" (His Holiness), which contained a series of leaked letters addressed personally to Pope Benedict. Nuzzi claimed to have multiple sources within the Vatican.

The leaks were investigated by a commission of three cardinals led by Cardinal Julian Herranz of Spain.

Cardinal Herranz told CNA on May 24 that the leaks were "confusing souls and also giving the Church and the Holy See a completely unfair image."

Gabriele, 46, was arrested May 25 after confidential Vatican documents were found in his apartment. He has worked in the Papal Household under both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and had daily access to the pontiff.

Gabriele initially denied involvement in the leaks.

According to the Aug. 13 report issued by Judge Bonnet, Gabriele intended to help the Pope understand the problems of corruption within the Church. He thought that a "media shock" would put the Church "back onto the right track."

Vatican officials have continued to investigate the case.

The two have been notified of the trial date decree, which was issued by Giuseppe della Torre, president of the Tribunal of the Vatican City State.

The first hearing will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 29 in the audience hall of the Tribunal.

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