MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Jailed Australian Cardinal George Pell, convicted over child sex offences, was moved to another prison last week after a drone flew over the facility where he was being held, local media reported.
Pell is the most senior Catholic official worldwide imprisoned for child sex offences. The former Vatican treasurer is serving a six-year sentence for sexually assaulting two teen-aged choir boys.
“Corrections Victoria can confirm that there was an incident involving a drone flying over the Melbourne Assessment Prison on Thursday,” a Department of Justice spokeswoman said on Sunday in an e-mailed statement.
She declined to comment on Pell, but said that the incident has been referred to the state police for investigation.
Local media reported Pell has been moved to a new facility following the incident. Melbourne-based newspaper The Herald Sun reported without identifying sources that Pell has been moved to a high security facility in regional Victoria.
Flying a drone within 120 meters (400 feet) of a prison or youth justice facility in Australia is illegal and carries a penalty of a maximum two years in prison, according to the Department of Justice.
Australia’s High Court agreed in November to hear Pell’s final appeal to overturn his conviction, with the hearing expected in March at the earliest.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; editing by Richard Pullin)