December 20, 2016 3:10 PM
Pope grants freedom to jailed prelate in leaks scandal
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has freed a Vatican monsignor convicted of leaking confidential documents to journalists, granting him a Christmas-time clemency and ending an embarrassing episode for the Holy See.
The Vatican said late Tuesday that Francis had granted "conditional freedom" to Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda. Fired from his job as a high-ranking Vatican financial official, Vallejo now falls under the authority of his local bishop in Astorga, Spain.
Earlier this year, a Vatican court convicted Vallejo of conspiring to pass documents onto the journalists and sentenced him to 18 months in prison.
The Vatican said the pope ordered the clemency because Vallejo had already served half his sentence. It stressed that the conviction and the sentence remain on the books but says Vallejo can enjoy conditional freedom effective immediately.