Church of Scientology accused of torture and forced abortions

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by Pop Sickle, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. Church of Scientology accused of torture and forced abortions

    Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, has voiced “concerns” over the Church of Scientology after a senator detailed explosive allegations about the organisation, accusing it of torture, embezzlement and coerced abortions.

    Nick Xenophon tabled letters to the Australian parliament from several former Scientologists, and alleged that the secretive church was an “abusive … violent and criminal organisation” which is hiding behind religion.

    Mr Xenophon was questioning the church's tax-free status as a religion when he made the claims, which have been denied by the organisation.

    The letters, which the senator has passed onto police, contained allegations of a range of crimes, including forced imprisonment, coerced abortions, embezzlement of church funds, physical violence, intimidation and blackmail.

    “Scientology is not a religious organisation, it is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs,” Mr Xenophon told the Australian Senate in Canberra on Tuesday evening.

    “... The letters received by me which were written by former followers in Australia contains extensive allegations of crimes and abuses that are truly shocking - crimes against them and crimes they say they were coerced into committing.

    “These victims of Scientology claim it is an abusive, manipulative, violent and criminal organisation, and that criminality is condoned at the highest levels.”

    Among the letters he tabled was one from a former follower from Western Australia, who was born into Scientology. The man wrote in a letter that as a member of the organisation in both Australia and the US he had participated in the “forced confinement and torture” of others. His letter also states: “Several abortions were ordered as well”.

    Asked about Senator Xenophon’s claims, Mr Rudd described them as “grave allegations”, but admitted he too had concerns about the organisation.

    “Many people in Australia have real concerns about Scientology,” the Prime Minister said earlier today.

    “I share some of those concerns. Let us proceed carefully and look carefully at the material he has provided before we make a decision on further parliamentary action.”

    The Australian Federal Police met with Mr Xenophon on Monday and said that the allegations are a matter for NSW police, which refused to comment on the case.

    A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology said he did not believe the allegations were true, but the organisation would be willing to co-operate with police over the accusations of criminal activity.

    In a statement the church said Mr Xenophon's claims were an "outrageous abuse of parliamentary privilege", referring to his protection from libel laws.

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

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

    The church's Australian vice-president, Cyrus Brooks, said that Mr Xenophon had refused to respond to repeated requests for a meeting.

    "He didn't answer a single letter, he didn't talk to us, he didn't meet with us, so he's suddenly brought up these things,'' Mr Brooks said.

    "It's a bit disingenuous of him to do so without even meeting us.''

    But a spokesman from the senator's office said only one letter had been sent, in July, which a staff member had unfortunately not relayed.

    Mr Xenophon is a maverick, independent politician from South Australia. A former compensation lawyer, he won a seat in the federal parliament in the 2007 federal election on an anti-gambling, pro-consumer protection platform under his ‘No Pokies’ party.

    Founded in the United States in 1954 by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology is officially recognised as a religion in Australia for tax purposes.

    The Church of Scientology claims it has 12 million members which include Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

    In October the Church of Scientology in France was fined €600,000 (£545,000) after being found guilty of cheating vulnerable members out of their life savings.

    The allegations

    Former followers, who are willing to be questioned by police over the allegations, reported crimes ranging from forced imprisonment, coerced abortions, embezzlement of church funds, physical violence, intimidation and blackmail.

    - Paul Schofield admitted to being part of a campaign to cover up the facts surrounding the death of his two daughters, including two and a half-year-old Kirsty, who died during a purification programme.

    - Aaron Saxton confined and tortured a follower and coerced females to have abortions, one who used a coat hanger for fear of punishment. He also has details of murder confessions from members in the US, information that was never passed on to police.

    - Carmel Underwood was put under "extreme pressure" to have an abortion, and witnessed a young sexually abused girl being coached on how to keep it secret.

    - Anna and Dean Detheridge, who were forced to reject a gay relative, provided evidence that personal information was used to blackmail and control them.

    - Kevin Mackey revealed how he handed over nearly a million dollars in exchange for services and products after he was conditioned by the sect.

    - Peta O'Brien was discouraged from seeking treatment for cancer, was cut off from her son and provided evidence of being assaulted.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article6921140.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1
     
  2. gaj

    gaj

    nothing new here...that's been known for YEARS...

    it's official policy, from LRH to miscaviage and on down...