of Scientology's Harassment of Robert S. Minton and Colleagues
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
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
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.
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.
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.
18, 1997: Mr. Minton received a threatening letter
from Scientology attorney Elliot Abelson, in which Mr. Abelson
accused Mr. Minton of:
a climate of hatred in Clearwater which endangers our
staff and parishioners who work and live there."
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
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."
advised Mr. Minton:
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."
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
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.
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:
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
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
of cash fuel battle of principle," by Diego Ribadeneira.
The article stated,
officials acknowledged that they have conducted their
own investigation into Minton's funding practices."
Weiland, then head of Scientology's Los Angeles-based Office
of Special Affairs International (OSA Int), was quoted saying,
is an extremely shady character because he covertly engages
in a campaign to harm our religion. It's immoral and quite
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."
9, 1997: The Naples, Florida, Daily News published an
article by Leslie Miller entitled "Retired
banker, Scientologists take aim at each other." The
members say the millionaire is using 'KKK-style' tactics
to discredit the church,"
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."
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,
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
Kurt Weiland falsely accused Minton of "covertly funding,
and in this way, manipulating litigation."
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.
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.
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.
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,
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]."
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.'"
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
23, 1997: The St. Petersburg Times published an article
suit against opponent," written by Lucy Morgan and
Thomas Tobin. The article stated,
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."
on to say that attorneys and top officials for Scientology
Minton's motives are 'sordid'
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
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."
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
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