More Scientology accusations exposed

Sydney Morning Herald/March 8, 2010

Scientology has been hit by a fresh wave of allegations, likely to give added weight to calls for a Senate inquiry into the church.

Several Australians have spoken out for the first time about their experiences with the church, accusing it of forced abortions, holding slave labour camps and exploiting child workers.

Former rugby league player Joe Reaiche told ABC's Four Corners program on Monday of being coerced into spending $400,000 on spiritual books and being paid just $20 a week as an employee.

He also accused the organisation of preventing contact between him and his children after his expulsion in 2005.

It was an experience shared by Liz and James Anderson, who have not seen their eldest daughter - still with the church - for the past five years.

They're now considering launching a class action against the organisation to recoup a lost sum of $650,000 and to right alleged abuses.

Their second daughter Jordan once worked for 72 hours without sleep at age 15 while working as an administrator, and was once punished by being ordered to scrub out a Sydney dumpster, the Andersons say.

Also on Four Corners, there were repeated claims of forced abortions from various former devotees and of Scientology's slave labour punishment camps, all of which were rejected by a church spokesman.

The Senate is due to vote on a possible inquiry into Scientology this week.

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