Police probe Scientology abuse claims

The Sydney Morning Herald/December 2, 2009

Police are investigating a series of allegations of abuse and bullying in the Church of Scientology made in a series of letters from former members tabled in parliament by the independent senator Nick Xenophon.

The most senior executive to defect from the church, American Marty Rathbun, has said the allegations, including coercion to have abortions and donate money, are unwritten church policy, dictated from its head office, according to a speech by the Greens MP John Kaye to the NSW Upper House.

"My office is currently fully co-operating with a NSW police investigation into the organisation," Senator Xenophon said yesterday.

He said a senior staff member had met officers from the NSW Serious Crimes Squad two weeks ago and that his office was gathering a dossier of hundreds more allegations to provide to the police this week. A NSW police source said the claims were in the hands of the state crime command's legal unit.

Dr Kaye supported Senator Xenophon's call for a Senate inquiry into the church, though it is yet to receive support from the major parties.

"My office is yet to be contacted by the Prime Minister's office despite Mr Rudd's comments about wanting to look at the evidence," Senator Xenophon said.

The church's Australian president, Vicki Dunstan, denied all the allegations, saying that Senator Xenophon had abused parliamentary privilege and accusing Mr Rathbun of being an embittered liar.

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