Pope phones Argentine woman who wrote to him about rape

Pope Francis greets the faithful as he leaves the village of Castel Gandolfo, the pontiffs' summer residence in the hills overlooking Rome on Thursday, Aug 15, 2013. Pope Francis has phoned an Argentine woman to comfort her and tell her she is n
Pope Francis greets the faithful as he leaves the village of Castel Gandolfo, the pontiffs' summer residence in the hills overlooking Rome on Thursday, Aug 15, 2013. Pope Francis has phoned an Argentine woman to comfort her and tell her she is not alone after she wrote a letter to him saying she was raped by a policeman. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

VATICAN CITY (REUTERS) - Pope Francis has phoned an Argentine woman to comfort her and tell her she is not alone after she wrote a letter to him saying she was raped by a policeman.

Pope Francis has brought an informal, friendly style to the papacy since his election in March, including a habit of telephoning people who write to him with personal stories that catch his attention.

Ms Alejandra Pereyra, 44, told Argentine television Canal 10 that she had to ask him to repeat his name but she felt "touched by the hand of God" when she realised she was the latest person to receive a personal call from Pope Francis.

In a video of the interview posted on YouTube, she said the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics told her during the half-hour conversation on Aug 25 that he received thousands of letters every day but her story had moved him.

Ms Pereyra wrote in her letter that she felt victimised twice; once when she was raped and then when she was threatened and pressurised by investigators when she reported the rape.

Authorities have dismissed her allegations, local press reported.

Pope Francis - the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina - told her she was not alone and that she should have faith in justice.

This month, Pope Francis also called the mother and brother of an Italian petrol station manager who was shot dead in June, and a 19-year-old student who left him a letter during a Mass.