Thursday, May 20, 2010

Church of Scientology faces new abuse claims

Church of Scientology faces new abuse claims
ELLIE HARVEY Sydney Morning Herald
May 20, 2010

More accusations against the Church of Scientology have emerged, with new allegations they were involved in covering up the repeated sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl.

A woman told the ABC's Lateline program last night she had been repeatedly molested as a young girl by her stepfather, and that she had been coached by a senior member of the organisation to lie to investigators.

''Between the age of about [seven or eight] to 11 he was molesting me,'' Carmen Rainer told the program.

At 11, she told a friend who was the daughter of the chief executive of Barnardo's, Louise Voigt. Ms Voigt informed Ms Rainer's mother who decided to seek help from the organisation.

But a senior Scientologist from the Sydney branch, Jan Eastgate, allegedly told the mother and daughter to lie to the police and community services about the allegations. ''Just say no, she kept repeating that … don't say yes because otherwise you will be taken away from your parents and you'll never see your family again …,'' Ms Rainer said.

The Scientologists also told Ms Rainer the abuse was her fault. ''They told me it was my fault because I'd been bad in a past life … I believed them, as a child I believed them. I was 11 that's what I knew, I grew up believing what they believed,'' she said.

Ms Eastgate denied the claims, saying the organisation insisted Ms Rainer's stepfather go to the police in 1999. Ms Rainer made a statement 18 months later, and her stepfather pleaded guilty to indecent assault and was given a good behaviour bond, Lateline reported.

Ms Rainer recently made a statement to Balmain police about Ms Eastgate's interference with the police inquiries at the time, which they are now investigating. She was accompanied by the independent senator, Nick Xenophon.

Lateline said the Church of Scientology wrote in a statement the allegations were untrue.

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