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Pope's Butler Sentenced to 18 Months

The pope's butler Paolo Gabriele, center, flanked at right by his lawyer Cristiana Arru, leaves the Vatican tribunal, after the verdict, at the Vatican, October 6, 2012.
The Vatican Court has found Pope Benedict's former butler guilty of aggravated theft for stealing the pontiff's personal papers and leaking them to a journalist.

A Vatican spokesman said it is likely the pope will pardon Gabriele, although he did not say when.

Judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre on Saturday read aloud the three-judge panel's sentence of 18 months in prison for Paolo Gabriele, a 46-year-old father of three. Gabriele's co-defendant, a Vatican computer expert, will be tried separately.

Judge Torre initially gave Gabriele a three-year sentence but immediately cut it to 18 months in consideration of past service and because he has no criminal record.

Gabriele confessed to stealing personal papers from the pope and passing them to a journalist writing a book on alleged corruption in the church. The incident is unprecedented in the modern history of the Vatican, the world's smallest state.

Gabriele has said he was disgusted with the “evil and corruption” in the church and acted out of a "visceral love" for the church and its earthly leader. He has written to the pope, asking for forgiveness.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.