News People George Pell’s apparent letter from prison posted to social media, sparking investigation

George Pell’s apparent letter from prison posted to social media, sparking investigation

George Pell has appealed against his child sex abuse convictions. Photo: Getty
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• Cardinal George Pell was released from prison on April 7, 2020 after the High Court quashed his five convictions for child sexual abuse.

Victoria’s Department of Justice is investigating after a letter apparently written by jailed Cardinal George Pell to his supporters was posted to social media.

Photos of the letter, which are dated August 1, 2019, were posted to the Cardinal George Pell Supporters Twitter account late on Friday evening.

“My faith in our God, like yours, is a source of strength,” the letter says.

“The knowledge that my small suffering can be used for good purposes through being joined to Jesus’ suffering gives me purpose and direction.

“Challenges and problems in Church life should be confronted in a similar spirit of faith.”

The letter was posted late on Friday night. Photo: Twitter

The Twitter account said the letter was the “latest pastoral letter” from Cardinal Pell, who is serving a six-year jail sentence for sexually abusing two choirboys when he was the Catholic archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.

Cardinal Pell, 77, has maintained he is innocent and is awaiting judgement after appealing against the conviction.

Prisoners are allowed to write and receive letters from behind bars, but they are banned from encouraging others to post online on their behalf.

“Prisoners are denied any access to the internet or social media. It is a prison offence to commission other individuals to post something on social media on behalf of a prisoner,” a department spokesperson said.

“The Department of Justice and Community Safety will thoroughly investigate this social media activity.

“Any prisoner found to be contravening prison regulations faces disciplinary action.”

The ABC is not suggesting Cardinal Pell encouraged the group to post the letter and has not verified its authenticity.

The Twitter post showed two pages of the handwritten letter, which said it was sent from the Melbourne Assessment Prison.

The letter thanked members of the Support Cardinal Pell group for their prayers and offered “a word of explanation” for an apparent delay in replying, saying he had received between 1500 and 2000 letters.

The letter urged the group to “always remember that the Catholic Church is one”.

Cardinal Pell’s lawyer Paul Galbally declined to comment when contacted by the ABC.