Aussie Scientologists Accused of Torture
Oz senator alleges violence, embezzlement, forced abortions
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2009 6:18 AM CST
Demonstrators protest Scientology at the opening night play of "All My Sons" on Broadway in New York last year.   (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Scientology's status as a church masks a "criminal organization" guilty of torture, forced imprisonment, coerced abortion, embezzlement and blackmail, charges an Australian senator, whose accusations have triggered concerns by the Aussie prime minister. Nick Xenophon, who yesterday showed the Australian parliament and police letters from ex-Scientologists detailing abuse and violence, called for the group to be stripped of its status as a religion in the nation, the Times of London reports.

Scientology leaders countered that claims by those who've left the church are "as reliable as former spouses are when talking about their ex-partner," and called Xenophon's allegations an "outrageous abuse" of legislators' exemption from libel law. Australian police will investigate the allegations, including those of a born Scientologist who claims he participated in “forced confinement and torture” and says “abortions were ordered as well."