The latest recipient of a surprise phone call from Pope Francis was Alejandra Pereyra, an Argentinean woman and mother, who emailed the Holy See with her story of being raped by a police officer, Vatican Insider reported Wednesday.
Francis called Pereyra Sunday afternoon. He reportedly said “It’s Pope Francis” when she picked up the phone.
“I started crying. With an angelic voice, he told me to be calm and that he was calling because he had read my letter and my story struck him,” Pereyra told Vatican Insider.
In the email that prompted the call, Pereyra told Francis about her rape and the abuse of her family by local police.
Per Vatican Insider:
“I am mother to six biological children and have brought up six others, three of which have disabilities. One day, one of these children was playing with a ball on the sidewalk in front of our house, when a policeman came by and called out to him. He didn’t get a response so the policeman took an Ithaca rifle and pointed it at the child’s chin. I went to the courts in Rio Segundo and reported the incident. Since then, me and my family have been continually harassed by the police.
“With all the pain I carry in my heart dear Holy Father, I ask you for your help because after all the talk of rape, they finally did it. One night in September 2008, around midnight, a police car turned up at our house and a policeman who presented himself as police chief Sergio Braccamonte, got out.” Mr. Braccamonte asked her to follow him to the police station but instead drove her to an isolated place “where he pointed a service pistol at my head and raped me.
Alejandra Pereyra wrote that Judge Luis Nazar who was in charge of the case “did nothing when I begged him to do something because I didn’t want to have to mourn a dead child.”
Zoë Schlanger is Frontpage Editor at TPM. Zoë was a TPM intern in 2011, and prior to returning here she was editor in chief of NYU Local, the alternative independent student news site at NYU. Zoë has interned at places like the Nation, InsideClimate News, The Rachel Maddow Show and Gothamist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.