One of the Church of Scientology’s most senior figures, Jan Eastgate (also known as Janice Meyer), has been arrested and charged in Sydney, ABC — the Australian Broadcasting Corporation — reports.
She has been charged with perverting the course of justice, in relation to allegations she coached an 11-year-old girl to lie to police and community services about the sexual abuse she suffered from her stepfather who was a member of the Church of Scientology.
She was awarded the church’s Freedom Medal for promoting human rights in 1988.
According the ABC TV’s Lateline, police have alleged Eastgate intimidated a then 11-year-old Carmen Rainer to provide false statements about sexual abuse by her stepfather.
Ms Rainer has alleged that Ms Eastgate, who was then head of the church’s citizens’ commission on human rights in Australia, told her she should deny any charges of the sexual abuse or she and her brother would be taken away by social services.
Ms Rainer’s mother Phoebe has also admitted Ms Eastgate told both of them what to say and to lie to police and in an interview with the Department of Community Services. Ms Eastgate previously called the allegations “egregiously false”. […]
Carmel Underwood, who was at the time a senior figure in Scientology, says she witnessed these events.
“I knew that Carmen was being coached on what to say to the Department of Community Services and to the police,” she said.
“So I challenged them on that and we had a bit of an argument and I was told it was none of my business and to get out of there.
“I didn’t want to get out of there because I wanted to stop what was going on but I was escorted out of there.”
The Australian further notes that
The news comes after the Australian Securities & Investments Commission earlier this month launched an inquiry into the business dealings of a Sydney property developer and senior Scientologist over a series of property deals.
The inquiry by ASIC into Carly Crutchfield was launched after independent senator Nick Xenophon – a vocal opponent of Scientology – sent a dossier to the corporate watchdog last month.
Senator Xenophon is calling for a judicial inquiry into the church.
The South Australian senator is asking that the organisation be stripped of its official religious status as a church, which means among other things its earnings aren’t taxed.
It should be noted that the Citizens’ Commission on Human Right is, essentially, a hate group. As Scientology critic Martin Poulter has pointed out, ”It is absolutely remarkable that an organisation which stands accused of so many human rights violations itself should spawn a pressure group with this name.”