Timeline of Scientology's Harassment of Robert S. Minton and Colleagues  


September 16, 1997: Mr. Minton received a telephone call from Elliott Abelson, one of Scientology's attorneys, inquiring about his health after the Clearwater protest he had attended in March. Mr. Minton had visited the emergency room at Massachusetts General Hospital after his return to Boston. Clearly, Mr. Abelson wanted Mr. Minton to know that he knew about the visit, thereby letting Mr. Minton know, for the first time, that he was under surveillance by Scientology. Mr. Abelson made subtle threats at retaliation if Mr. Minton did not stop helping Scientology's critics.

October 10, 1997: Mr. Minton received a call from a relative in Nashville, Tennessee, informing him that a woman named Mary Frances Newey was in town doing a "background check" on him. The contact number Mary Frances left was the telephone number for the Scientology organization in Boston.

October 14, 1997: Mr. Minton received a call himself from Mary Frances Newey. She threatened that Scientology was prepared to attack him in a number of areas if he didn't stop lending his support to critics of Scientology. She told him he would be attacked in the following areas: family, children, ex-wife, ex-business partners, state and federal taxes.

October 15, 1997: Mr. Minton's 10- and 12-year-old daughters were followed on October 15th and 17th as they walked from their house to a neighbor's house for carpool.

October 1997: Mr. Minton contacted two former Scientologists, Vaughn and Stacy Young, after Vaughn Young posted a message on the Internet detailing harassment they had been subjected to by Scientology. In the post he described how their cat sanctuary was about to be shut down as a result of this harassment. Through anonymous telephone calls, Scientology operatives had nearly succeeded in having the Youngs evicted from their house and their rescued cats confiscated and killed. Mr. Minton's eleventh-hour intervention allowed the animals to be saved. Scientology had mounted its harassment campaign against the Youngs in an attempt to stop a 60 Minutes expose about Scientology in which Stacy was interviewed, and to keep Vaughn from testifying in Germany about Scientology's long-term pattern of illegal conduct. Mr. Minton's intervention made it possible for the 60 Minutes interview to air on December 27, 1997, and for the German testimony to go forward.

November 18, 1997: Mr. Minton received a threatening letter from Scientology attorney Elliot Abelson, in which Mr. Abelson accused Mr. Minton of:

"fostering a climate of hatred in Clearwater which endangers our staff and parishioners who work and live there."

He also accused Mr. Minton of financing individuals who were committing "hate crimes," and of "going out of your way to foment their irrational hatred." Mr. Abelson went on to state that

"Association with lawbreakers such as these, combined with the monetary demands that inevitably accompany their involvement in litigation or similar fertile areas for attempts of extortion, make your actions of interest to the prosecutors to whom such conduct has been referred."

He further advised Mr. Minton:

"My client holds you, your associates and backers, financial or otherwise, personally responsible for any and all damages it has suffered or will continue to suffer as a result of your tortuous officious intermeddling in Church litigation. The Church will not tolerate such conduct."

He ended the letter by demanding that Mr. Minton "imMediately withdraw all financial support for such matters" and warned him that "you and those you are financing have crossed the threshold of legality." In the letter, Abelson accused Mr. Minton of funding the Lisa McPherson wrongful death case. Although he had not done so until then, Mr. Minton thought this was a good idea and soon thereafter contacted Ken Dandar, attorney for Lisa McPherson's estate, to offer financial assistance.

November 18, 1997: Mr. Minton's elderly mother in Nashville, Tennessee, received a telephone call from a man who identified himself as "Dan Wallace" of "East Coast Newspapers" in Boston. (Subsequent investigation revealed that no such organization existed.) The man said he was doing a story on her son Bob Minton, focusing on how he had accumulated so much wealth in his international banking business. The man asked her if she knew someone named "Mr. Stokes." This was the name of an attorney with the Boston law firm of Bingham, Dana and Gould who had established a company for Mr. Minton in the 1980s. Bingham, Dana and Gould had also represented the Boston Globe when it published a series of articles about Michael Flynn, an attorney who, in the late 1970s and early '80s, had successfully litigated against Scientology on behalf of a number of former high-level Scientologists who all claimed to have been defrauded and abused. Scientologists had broken into the Boston Globe offices to try to stop the publication of these articles, and this had been reported as part of the series. Because Stokes was the president of the German-American Chamber of Commerce in Boston, Scientology was convinced, albeit erroneously, that he was in some way involved with Mr. Minton's current activities with regard to Scientology. The Scientology leadership was sure that the German government was in charge of the "global conspiracy" to destroy Scientology, and equally sure that Mr. Minton was under orders from Germany to go after Scientology. The man claiming to be "Dan Wallace" asked Mr. Minton's mother if she knew of Mr. Minton's "link to Germany," alluding to Stokes' German connection. Mr. Minton's mother told the man that he needed to be asking her son about all of these things. She asked for his telephone number, but he gave her a false number that did not even have a Boston area code.

December 5, 1997: Mr. Minton was in Clearwater participating in the annual peaceful protest in memory of Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist who died an unnecessary and gruesome death after being incarcerated in Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater for nearly three weeks. While he was in Clearwater, Scientologists picketed Mr. Minton's Beacon Hill home in Boston for the first time, during his daughter's birthday party. Fliers handed out by the Scientologists had a photograph of Mr. Minton and stated:

"The face of religious bigotry: Your neighbor, Robert Minton is not all that he seems. This week he is leading a KKK-style rally against peaceful members of a religion. When he's not stirring up hatred in the streets, Minton is poisoning the Internet by filling it full of religious bigotry and intolerance." (NY TIMES 12-21-97.)

This was the first of many fliers the Scientologists would distribute in an effort to characterize Mr. Minton as a religious bigot and hate monger to his friends and neighbors. The campaign to discredit him had begun.

December 9, 1997: The Boston Globe printed an article entitled "Gifts of cash fuel battle of principle," by Diego Ribadeneira. The article stated,

"Church officials acknowledged that they have conducted their own investigation into Minton's funding practices."

Kurt Weiland, then head of Scientology's Los Angeles-based Office of Special Affairs International (OSA Int), was quoted saying,

"This is an extremely shady character because he covertly engages in a campaign to harm our religion. It's immoral and quite frankly perverse."

Frank Ofman, a member of Scientology's Boston branch of OSA, was quoted in the article explaining that Scientologists distributed the leaflets to "highlight Minton's bias."

December 9, 1997: The Naples, Florida, Daily News published an article by Leslie Miller entitled "Retired banker, Scientologists take aim at each other." The article stated,

"Church members say the millionaire is using 'KKK-style' tactics to discredit the church,"


"Members of the Church of Scientology have paid for private investigators to dig into Minton's private life and threatened to sue him in six states. They call it chasing a rat out of his hole."

Kendrick Moxon, a long-term Guardian's Office and OSA operative named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the 1980 criminal case against Scientology, was sent to law school in the mid-1980s at Scientology's expense. Now an attorney charged with carrying out much of the legal harassment against Scientology critics, Moxon was quoted saying,

"Who is behind this guy? The man is going to be sued because he has committed torts all over the country and I want to know why is he trying to destroy religion and create chaos."

OSA head Kurt Weiland falsely accused Minton of "covertly funding, and in this way, manipulating litigation."

December 15, 1997: Mr. Minton's wife Therese found a dead cat on the doorstep of the Mintons' New Hampshire farmhouse. This was clearly placed there by OSA, a reference to Mr. Minton's assistance to the Youngs' cat sanctuary in Seattle.

December 15, 1997: From this date, Mr. Minton's home in Boston was picketed two or three times per week until the end of February 1998. On the days when he was not picketed, Mr. Minton's Boston neighborhood was leafleted with fliers characterizing him as a religious bigot and hate monger.

December 19, 1997: Mr. Minton appeared on a show about Scientology on "Greater Boston with Emily Rooney" on WGBH. He talked about his experience in a mental institution at age sixteen. Later the Scientologists took the video of the show to his mother and used it as a way to spend three hours interviewing her about Mr. Minton. They also took the video to his father.

December 21, 1997: The New York Times published an article titled "Boston man wages costly fight with Scientology," written by Douglas Frantz. Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder was quoted saying,

"Sometimes it requires aggressive litigation and investigation to uncover the depths of the nefarious plots that have been attempted to destroy Scientology. The people that we know of whom Minton has funded have expressed their intentions to destroy the Church of Scientology, not merely to criticize. If he wants to fund it, fine. He will have to live with the bigotry he foments and be accountable for the harm he enables to occur [sic]."

The article stated,

"In a letter to Minton last month, a church lawyer demanded that he stop financing opponents of Scientology and warned that his actions had 'crossed the threshold of legality.'"

Mr. Minton's former business associate, Robert Smith, spoke favorably about Mr. Minton, saying: "He's a man of principle and a very tenacious person." Later Mr. Smith would be forced to sever all communications with Mr. Minton to avoid becoming a target of Scientology's relentless harassment himself. Over the next two years, Scientology would systematically target all of Mr. Minton's former friends. The purpose was to isolate him so that there would be no one to whom he could turn for help.

December 23, 1997: The St. Petersburg Times published an article entitled "Scientology-sponsored suit against opponent," written by Lucy Morgan and Thomas Tobin. The article stated,

"Scientology has blasted Robert S. Minton Jr. for donating more than $1.25 million to its critics, calling his actions 'nefarious' and underhanded. The church contends he is illegally interfering with lawsuits involving Scientology."

It went on to say that attorneys and top officials for Scientology say '… Minton's motives are 'sordid'…" Describing the people Mr. Minton had helped, Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder said, "These people are a pack of criminals." Mr. Rinder also accused Mr. Minton of trying to extort $80 billion from Scientology by his involvement with the Lisa McPherson lawsuit.

December 1997: A private investigator working for Scientology tracked down Mr. Minton's former secretary, Dorothy Cronin, and asked her if she knew of any affairs Mr. Minton had had that might have produced a "love child."

December 1997: Scientology private investigators contacted Mr. Minton's first wife Fran and his son, Rob, from that marriage. Mr. Minton and his son had been estranged for several years, and the Scientology operatives exacerbated this estrangement by characterizing his father's financial assistance of Scientology critics as a slap in the face to his son. This was extremely upsetting to Mr. Minton and served to further estrange father and son.

December 1997: Mr. Minton joined the Board of Directors of FACTNet, a corporation founded by former Scientologists Lawrence Wollersheim and Robert Penney. The main activity of the Colorado-based organization was providing information about Scientology on the Internet via its website, www.factnet.org. When Mr. Minton joined the board, Scientology had already targeted FACTNet for destruction. Falsely claiming that FACTNet was a threat to Scientology's income, attorneys for Scientology had convinced a Denver judge to grant a writ of seizure. Armed with the writ, Scientology operatives had raided the FACTNet offices and seized all of the computers. Scientology had then filed suit against FACTNet for copyright violations, allegations that would later prove to be unfounded after a costly legal battle that ultimately resulted in settlement. Because it was clear that Scientology had targeted FACTNet for destruction through costly legal harassment, Mr. Minton agreed to help fund FACTNet's defense. When Scientology learned that Mr. Minton had joined the board, Mr. Minton received a series of telephone calls in which he was threatened about "what would happen" to him if he joined this "hate group." Mr. Minton refused to resign, however, and the campaign against him intensified.

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