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Pope's ex-butler Paolo Gabriele jailed for theft in Vatileaks scandal

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict's former butler, has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after being found guilty of stealing the Pope's confidential papers.

Popes butler released from jailEnlarge
Pope Benedict XVI waves as he stands with butler Paolo Gabriele, center, on May 4, 2011, at St Peter's square at The Vatican. (VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict's ex-butler, has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after being found guilty of stealing confidential papers in a scandal dubbed "Vatileaks."

Gabriele admitted photocopying the Pope's documents, which he later leaked to an Italian journalist. But he denied the theft charge, saying he had acted out of love for the Catholic Church.

Presiding judge Guiseppe Dalla Torre convicted the 46-year-old father of three on Saturday and sentenced him to three years in jail, but then reduced it to a year-and-a-half because of "mitigating circumstances."

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Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi published a book based on the leaked papers called, “His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI,” about corruption inside the Holy See.

"The thing I feel most strongly is the conviction of having acted out of visceral love for the Church of Christ and of its leader on earth," Gabriele said on the last day of the trial, according to the BBC. "I do not feel I am a thief."

The BBC reported that official Vatican media have largely ignored the trial since it began.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Gabriele would appeal against the verdict, NBC News said

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