Post Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:58 am

Church of Scientology denies abuse cover-up

The Church of Scientology is vigorously denying accusations a senior figure in the organisation tried to cover up the sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl in Sydney.

It says the allegations, aired on ABC1's Lateline program, are false and highly defamatory.

A former Scientology member, Carmen Rainer, told Lateline she was coached by a senior figure in the church to lie to police about the abuse at the hands of her then stepfather, Robert Kerr.

Her mother, Phoebe, was a member and went to the organisation for advice when she learned her daughter was being sexually abused.

Police are now investigating claims Jan Eastgate, who was in charge of a church-founded organisation at the time, told both mother and daughter to lie to police and community services about the abuse.

Ms Eastgate has described the allegations as "egregiously false".

The Church of Scientology has responded to the claims, saying it was only through the intervention of the church that Mr Kerr ultimately turned himself into police.

"Not only did church staff help facilitate Carmen and her mother to report the matter to the proper authorities at the time it happened in 1985, it was only through the intervention of the church that the man responsible ultimately turned himself in to the police and was prosecuted," a church statement said.............
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