pope police

Vatican Police Arrest Two for Allegedly Leaking Secret Papal Documents

The Vatican Gendarmerie
Photo: Daniele La Monaca/ /Splash News/Corbis

Investigators with the Vatican City police force arrested a high-ranking member of the clergy along with a Vatican employee for leaking confidential documents. It’s not clear what information was disseminated in the leak, but the former employee, Francesca Chaouqui, was on a panel commissioned by Pope Francis to reform the Vatican’s finances. Chaouqui and Reverend Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda were both “interrogated” by the papal police force, charged with overseeing the world’s smallest sovereign nation, who determined both arrests be “upheld.” Chaouqui has been released for cooperating with investigators, while Reverend Balda remains under house arrest

The Vatican Gendarmerie usually deals with lighter forms of misconduct — traffic violations, pickpocketing, and border violations — but the 130-member force, composed of former Italian police, has dealt with clandestine crimes before. In 2012, the force arrested and convicted Pope Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, for stealing confidential documents from the pope’s desk and leaking them to an Italian journalist. As there are no jury trials in the Vatican, a judge found Gabriele guilty of the misdeed and sentenced him to 18 months of house arrest in a small room. The last time the Vatican seriously attempted to house someone in their jail, which is used more for storage than imprisonment, the prisoner escaped, leaving behind the warden in a locked cell. 

Vatican Police Arrest Two for Document Leaks