Senior Scientologist cleared of sex abuse cover-up charges

Religion News Blog — Charges against a senior member of the Church of Scientology accused of coaching a child to lie about sex abuse have been dropped in a Sydney court.

The Australian Associated Press reports

Janice Meyer, an Australian citizen who lives in the US, had been charged with two counts of an act intending to pervert the course of justice in 1985 in Sydney.

She also goes by the name of Jan Eastgate.

The allegation involved threatening and intimidating an 11-year-old girl, causing her to give false information about being abused by a Scientologist to investigating police, the court has previously heard.

In Downing Centre Local Court today, the charges against Ms Meyer were withdrawn, a courts spokeswoman said.


Eastgate is the international president of the Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights, a Scientology front group that wages and extended hate campaign against psychiatry and psychiatrists.

The Sydney Morning Herald says

In May last year, Ms Meyer was charged with two counts of perverting the course of justice over an alleged incident in 1985. Police had claimed that Ms Meyer told the 11-year-old girl she should deny any charges of sexual abuse to police and officers from the Department of Social Services.

According to The Daily Telegraph

Downing Centre Local Court was given no reasons for the decision behind the withdrawal of the charges that alleged Ms Eastgate had intimidated a then 11-year-old young girl and her mother who wanted to report sexual abuse allegations within the church back in 1985. […]

The girl’s stepfather has since pleaded guilty to the abuse of the girl.

The charges against Ms Eastgate were laid by police in the wake of independent senator Nick Xenophon’s calls for an inquiry into the Church of Scientology.

In May, 2011, The Australian wrote

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”. […]

At the time Australia’s ABC News reported

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.”

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This post was last updated: Apr. 24, 2012