Sophie Tedmanson in Sydney reports for the Times:
The Church of Scientology faces the prospect of a police investigation in Australia after being accused of torture and embezzlement and of forcing employees to have abortions.
Nick Xenophon, an independent senator, presented letters to the Australian Parliament from seven former Scientologists which he said showed that the secretive church was a front for physical violence, intimidation and blackmail.
“I am deeply concerned about this organisation and the devastating impact it can have on its followers,” he told the Australian Senate in Canberra. He called for a Senate inquiry.
The State Crime Command of New South Wales police yesterday confirmed that Mr Xenophon had handed over the letters for investigation. Fed- eral police have also been contacted.
Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister,said that many Australians had “real concerns” about Scientology. “I share some of those concerns,” he added. “We would like to proceed in a cautious and methodical way in examining those matters and then we’ll decide what, if further, parliamentary action is necessary.”
Aaron Saxton, a member of the church in Australia and the US between 1989 and 1996, said in one of the letters that he had participated in the “forced confinement and torture” of others. Other letters described how individuals were pressured to hand over large sums of money to the church, leaving them in poverty.
[continues in the Times]