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2nd conviction in 'Vatileaks' case, but questions linger

Catholic World News - November 12, 2012

A Vatican tribunal has handed down the 2nd conviction in the “Vatileaks” case, finding Claudio Sciarpelletti guilty of obstructing justice.

Sciarpelletti, a computer expert who worked in the Secretariat of State, was given a 4-month sentence, but that sentence was reduced to 2 months and suspended because of his previously clean record.

Although Sciarpelletti will not be required to serve any prison time, his attorney said that he would appeal the sentence. The lawyer, Gianluca Benedetti, said that the charges against his client were implausible. Sciarpelletti was indicted when Vatican investigators found in his possession an envelope marked “Personal- Paolo Gabriele.” Prosecutors cited that envelope as evidence of his ties with Gabriele, the key figure in the Vatileaks case. Benedetti argued the Sciarpelletti and Gabriele were only casual acquaintances, and the computer technician had not sought to help Gabriele escape detection. “Why would a man who had so much to lose--his job, his reputation--obstruct justice for someone else?" Benedetti asked.

Gabriele, who has already been convicted for stealing confidential papal documents, told the Vatican tribunal that the papers in the envelope he gave to Sciarpelletti were not classified. Furthermore, Sciarpelletti once told prosecutors that he received the envelope not directly from Gabriele but from a monsignor working at the Secretariat of State. Although that testimony raised questions about Gabriele’s assertion that he had acted alone, the Vatican tribunal refused to authorize cross-questioning of Sciarpelletti about that claim.

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