Vatican computer expert drops appeal in Vatileaks case

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A Vatican computer expert who was convicted of aiding and abetting the pope's former butler in the Vatileaks scandal has dropped his appeal.

The Vatican's chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Saturday (Dec. 1) that Claudio Sciarpelletti had reversed his initial decision to appeal the guilty verdict.

Sciarpelletti was sentenced on Nov. 10 to a two-month suspended jail sentence. He also risks losing his job.

In the final text of the conviction, the panel of three Vatican judges wrote that the computer expert lied to protect Paolo Gabriele, the former butler for Pope Benedict XVI .

Sciarpelletti gave two contradicting accounts about the origin of an envelope containing documents that appeared in journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi's book “Sua Santita,” or “His Holiness,” which contained most of the documents leaked by Gabriele.

While first saying he had received the documents from the butler, Sciarpelletti then changed his story and said the envelope had been given to him by Carlo Maria Polvani, a senior cleric who oversees the information office in the Vatican's Secretariat of State.

According to Vatican judges, Sciarpelletti's changing story amounted to trying to “obstruct” the investigation in order to “help” the butler. The judges stressed that he and Gabriele were friends and used to meet even outside the workplace.

Gabriele is now serving a 18-month jail term in a Vatican cell.

Lombardi said that the trial over the Vatileaks affair is now over. He stressed that the pope can still choose whether to pardon his former butler, and that he would be informed of Sciarpelletti's decision not to appeal the sentence.


About the author

Alessandro Speciale

Alessandro Speciale has been covering the Vatican since 2007 and wrote for Religion News Service from 2011-2013. Born in Rome, he studied literature at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy, and journalism at City University, London. He has appeared as an expert on Vatican affairs on CNN, BBC World and Al Jazeera English.