Sunday Telegraph AU(*) Surry Hills, N.S.W. Dec.27.09 ~ Police are investigating claims three former Church of Scientology members, whose experiences of church abuse were tabled in federal Parliament, have been harassed and stalked since going public.
Three of the seven former Scientology members whose letters were tabled by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon in Parliament last month allege they have been harassed since speaking out against the church.
Senator Xenophon will be contacting Australian Federal Police to investigate the matter. "The federal police need to look at this issue because if anyone is bullied and frightened into silence, our democratic system is put at risk."
Former Scientology member Paul Schofield claimed that he was being stalked by members of the church. "The same blue Holden Statesman turns up outside my work every damn day and just sits there to try to intimidate me," Mr Schofield told The Sunday Telegraph. "It did spook me at the beginning, but I've realized we can't give in to these tactics."
Last month, Senator Xenophon spoke in Parliament [see YouTube: p1,p2] about Mr Schofield's daughter, who died at the church's Sydney headquarters.
A Scientology spokeswoman, Virginia Stewart, disputed Senator Xenophon's claims.
Carmel Underwood, who also wrote to Senator Xenophon as part of a campaign to have a Senate inquiry into the Church of Scientology launched, said she believed that her dog, Polly, had been poisoned last weekend.
"On Saturday night, our little dog started having a seizure," Ms Underwood said. "We took her straight to the vet and she had her stomach pumped and luckily survived. The vet told us she had eaten snail pellets but we don't use snail pellets, nor have we ever used them." [see: dead animals surrounding critics]
Ms Underwood, who was heavily involved in the Church of Scientology for 18 years, has reported the incident to police.
Sydneysider Kevin Mackay claims the church has spread rumors about him to other members and friends. "I think the Senate should have launched an investigation immediately," he said. "They've waited too long now. This is the Mafia of religion. Who knows what they are capable of?" [see: Paulette Cooper: Operation Freakout]
Senator Xenophon said he would ensure these actions were investigated and those responsible brought to justice. "Bullies, whoever they are, can't be allowed to get away with this," he said. "Every Australian should be concerned if people feel intimidated from speaking out about important issues because of the actions of others. I believe every Australian politician needs to speak out on this issue. That's the only way ordinary Australians will feel safe to speak out."
Credit: By ROSIE SQUIRES
(*)newspaper scans pending