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Pope's butler admits document leaks, says he didn't steal

Published October 2, 2012 3:30 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Vatican City • Pope Benedict XVI's former butler admitted leaking confidential papal documents to an Italian journalist, saying he was venting his frustrations about Vatican officials who manipulated the Holy Father.

Paolo Gabriele, 46, told a court inside Vatican City on Tuesday that he was innocent of the charges of aggravated theft, while saying that he had betrayed the Pope's trust. Gabriele also said that he acted alone.

"I developed the conviction that it's very easy to manipulate a person who has decision making powers in his hands," Gabriele told the three-judge panel. "Sometimes the Pope asked questions about things he should have already known about."

Gabriele allegedly leaked the documents to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who used some of them in his book "His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI." The Italian bestseller detailed power struggles and alleged corruption inside the Vatican. Gabriele, who began appropriating documents more than five years ago, said frustration pushed him to confide in a journalist.

"My intention was to find a trusted person to vent to, given my feelings and the discomfort about the situation that had become unbearable all around in the Vatican," Gabriele said. He never accepted money or benefits in exchange for information, Gabriele said.