Vatican Judges Find Computer Tech's Testimony Not Credible
The computer technician was convicted last month of aiding and abetting Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler, Paolo Gabriele, in his theft of sensitive documents.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican court said in a detailed sentence issued Dec. 1 that the testimony given by computer technician Claudio Sciarpelletti was neither “credible” nor “truthful.”
The court found the computer technician guilty of aiding and abetting the former butler to Pope Benedict XVI, Paolo Gabriele, in his theft of sensitive documents.
The sentence was handed down Nov. 10 and was filed Dec. 1 as the final installment of the “Vatileaks” saga. It is not unusual for Italian courts to deposit sentences weeks after the handing down of a verdict.
Sciarpelletti was originally sentenced to four months in prison, but his sentence was reduced two months due to extenuating circumstances.
His conviction came as part of the Vatican’s investigation into the theft of private documents belonging to Pope Benedict, which were then leaked to a journalist who published them in a bestselling book.
Gabriele was given an 18-month prison sentence in a separate trial, which ended in October. He is serving out his sentence in a Vatican Gendarmerie prison cell.
Sciarpelletti, 48, was arrested for a short time in May after his lawyer said an anonymous tip led to the search of his desk. An envelope was found addressed to Gabriele containing copies of documents that had been leaked to the Italian media.
Gianluca Benedetti, who represented Sciarpelletti in the case, argued in court that his client was in an “emotional state” when he gave confused and contradictory testimony to investigators, leading to the charges leveled against him.
The sentence records that Sciarpelletti changed his story a number of times about how secret documents came into his possession.
When asked about his changing story at his trial, Sciarpelletti said he had the document so long that he forgot where it came from. His changing story led to the prosecutor seeking obstruction charges.
The testimony of both Gabriele and Msgr. Carlo Polvani, Sciarpelletti's superior, were deemed to be more credible and consistent than his.
Judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre noted the computer technician’s long years of service at the Vatican, but he said the court concluded Sciarpelletti had helped Gabriele “elude the investigations of the authorities” at the Vatican.
The judge ordered that the computer technician’s criminal conviction not appear on his permanent record.