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Scientology is a criminal organisation rife with beatings, abortion and fraud, claims
11-18-2009, 11:21 PM,
Scientology is a criminal organisation rife with beatings, abortion and fraud, claims
Quote:Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is to investigate claims that Scientology is a criminal organisation that sanctioned beatings, imprisonments, forced abortions, sexual abuse and fraud.

The sensational claims about the church, whose members include many high-profile celebrities, were made by a South Australian senator, Nick Xenophon, who shares a surname with an ancient Greek warrior.

But unlike the mercenary of history who fought armies in central Asia in about 400BC, Mr Xenophon has gone into battle with Scientologists after receiving letters from eight former followers who told him of a worldwide pattern of abuse and criminality associated with the church.

'These are grave allegations,' said Mr Rudd, adding: 'Many people in Australia have real concerns about Scientology. I share some of those concerns.'

But he said he did not want to rush into any judgment on the claims.

'We would like to proceed in a cautious and methodical way in examining those matters...and then we'll decide what, if further, parliamentary action is necessary.

The Church of Scientology in Australia has denied the allegations, describing them as a co-ordinated effort to discredit the church, but said it will co-operate with police if a formal investigation is launched.

Senator Xenophon, an independent member of Australia's upper house, used parliamentary privilege to make his claims, which he said he had referred to the police.

He spoke of the church sanctioning coerced abortions, assault, imprisonment, covering up sexual abuse, embezzlement of funds and blackmail.

'In my view this is a two-faced organisation,' he told the Senate.

'There is the public face of an organisation...that claims to offer guidance and support to its followers and there is the private face of an organisation that abuses its followers and viciously targets its critics - and seems largely driven by paranoia.

'Scientology is not a religious organisation - it is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious belief.'

Among the letters he produced was one from a Western Australia man, Aaron Saxton, who admitted to conducting torture and blackmail while working for the Church of Scientology in Australia and in its U.S. headquarters for seven years from 1989.

Mr Saxton claims to have assisted in 'the forced confinement and torture' of a female church member who was kept under house arrest on a farm in western New South Wales for a month.

'Several abortions were ordered as well,' Mr Saxton's letter said.

'The staff that got pregnant were taken into offices and put under duress.'

He added that the victims were always in fear because they were told they could be expelled from the church and severed from their families.

'We had one staff member who used a coat hanger and self-aborted her child,' Mr Saxton wrote, adding that all her files were destroyed.

Another letter tabled by Mr Xenophon was from a former executive director of the church's Sydney branch, Carmel Under, who claimed a cover-up of child abuse. She alleged that in the mid-1980s a trainee Scientologist counsellor had been molesting his stepdaughter, but church officials persuaded the girl to lie about the abuse to welfare officials.

In a statement issued after the claims were made by Mr Xenophon, the church accused him of 'outrageous abuse' of parliamentary privilege.

'Senator Xenophon is obviously being pressured by disgruntled former members who use hate speech and distorted accounts of their experiences in the church,' said the church.

'They are about as reliable as former spouses are when talking about their ex-partner.'

Last month the Church of Scientology in France was convicted of fraud and fined more than £500,000.

Prosecutors in Paris were told the only reason the cult was not banned from the country completely was because it would carry on anyway ‘outside a legal framework’.

Among celebrities understood to belong to the Church of Scientology are Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Priscilla Presley, Katie Holmes and Kirstie Alley.
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara

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