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Pope's former butler will not appeal sentence

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* Ex butler in house arrest awaiting probable papal pardon

* Some of leaked documents alleged corruption in the Vatican

* Many commentators say he could not have acted alone

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Paolo Gabriele, PopeBenedict's former butler who leaked sensitive Vatican documents,believes his sentence of 18 months under house arrest is fairand will not appeal it, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Cristiana Arru told Reuters that Gabriele wanted thesentence, handed down last Saturday when he was convicted ofaggravated theft, to stand because he thought it was reasonable.

"Paolo had decided from the start decided that he wanted topay the consequences for his actions. If we appealed, it wouldmean the opposite," she said.

The prosecution had asked for a three-year sentence but thecourt gave him half that because he had no previous criminalrecord.

Gabriele will be serving the sentence under house arrest inthe apartment in the Vatican where he lives with his family.

The pope, who reigns as a sovereign monarch in Vatican City,is widely expected to pardon Gabriele, meaning he will bereleased from detention. He is expected to continue working inthe Vatican but in a lower-level job.

Gabriele said during the trial that he did not considerhimself a thief but leaked documents that alleged corruption inthe Vatican out of what he called a "visceral" love for theChurch and the pope.

However, Gabriele's swift conviction by the court after onlyfour sessions left lingering suspicions that he may have been apawn in a much larger Vatican intrigue involving infighting inthe papal court.

The documents he leaked constituted one of the biggestcrises of Benedict's papacy, embarrassing the Vatican as itstruggled to overcome a string of child sex abuse scandalsinvolving clerics and mismanagement at its bank.

Gabriele told investigators he had acted because he saw "eviland corruption everywhere in the Church" and that informationwas being hidden from the pope.

In pre-trial testimony Gabriele acknowledged he had comeunder the influence of several Vatican officials, including aconfessor to whom he gave copies of sensitive documents. Theconfessor later destroyed them.

But he said those who influenced him could not be considered"accomplices" and the panel of three judges did not pursueother lines of questioning regarding possible help he may havereceived.

Many commentators believe that Gabriele, who served the popehis meals and helped him dress, could not have acted alone.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Michael Roddy)

((philip.pullella@thomsonreuters.com))

Keywords: POPE BUTLER/

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