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Pope's Butler Pleads Innocent to Theft Charge

Tuesday, 02 Oct 2012 11:54 AM

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI's butler has said he is innocent of charges of stealing the pope's private correspondence but acknowledged he feels guilty of betraying the trust of the pontiff, whom he said he loved like a father.

Paolo Gabriele took the stand Tuesday in a Vatican courtroom to defend himself against a charge of aggravated theft.

Prosecutors say Gabriele stole papal letters and documents alleging power struggles and corruption and passed them off to a journalist in one of the most damaging scandals of Benedict's pontificate.

In other testimony Tuesday, the pope's private secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, testified that he began having suspicions about Gabriele after he realized three documents that appeared in the journalist's book could only have come from the office he shared with Gabriele.

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Pope Benedict XVI's butler has said he is innocent of charges of stealing the pope's private correspondence but acknowledged he feels guilty of betraying the trust of the pontiff, whom he said he loved like a father.
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