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Computer expert spared prison in Vatileaks affair

A Vatican computer expert has been found guilty of helping the pope's personal butler leak classified documents. NBC's Claudio Lavanga reports.

ROME — A Vatican computer expert charged with helping the pope's former butler Paolo Gabriele to steal and leak papal documents to a journalist was given a suspended, two-month prison sentence Saturday.

Claudio Sciarpelletti was initially given a four-month sentence, but it was reduced immediately to two months because of his clean record and later suspended.

In reading the verdict, chief judge Giuseppe della Torre said Sciarpelletti was sentenced for "obstructing justice."


Gabriele was sentenced to 18 months in prison in October for stealing and leaking papal documents.

Pope's ex-butler Paolo Gabriele gets 18-month sentence in 'Vatileaks' case

During his testimony Saturday, Sciarpelletti said he said he gave contradictory statements over the source of an envelope containing documents addressed to Paolo Gabriele because he was in a state of "shock" and "panic" following his arrest and the night spent in a Vatican prison cell.

He said he forgot who gave him the envelope as he had received it more than two years before it was found.

Sciarpelletti admitted to have written "Paolo Gabriele" on the envelope, but insisted he didn't know who gave it to him.

'Did it for my children'
Carlo Maria Polvani, head of the Vatican’s information office and Sciarpelletti's boss, said he had never seen the envelope and had not given it to Sciarpelletti.

Polvani is the nephew of cleric Carlo Maria Vigano, who tried to expose a web of corruption and nepotism in the awarding of contracts for the maintenance of Vatican real estate – something revealed by the leaking of the documents. Vigano was later sent to become Washington ambassador, a move seen by some as a way to drive him away from the Vatican.  

Polvani told the judges that Sciarpelletti told him after he was arrested and released: "Please forgive me. I did it for my children and my family."

The pope's once-trusted butler, Paulo Gabriele, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his part in leaking private Vatican documents. NBC's Duncan Golestani reports.

Pope's ex-butler says eyesight was damaged by 24-hour light in Vatican cell

He said he believed Gabriele and Sciarpelletti were good friends, and that Gabriele would come see him in the office often. This contradicted Sciarpelletti's lawyer's declaration that he and the butler knew each other, but were not close.

Gabriele said Sciarpelletti was a friend and a confidant, and that he gave him the documents found in the envelope on his desk by Vatican authorities back in May.

He told the judges he used to give Sciarpelletti printouts of documents he would download from the Internet, but that he never handed out any reserved, official or confidential documents.  

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