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


January 1999: A long-term Scientology spy was uncovered after having been sent in on FACTNet, Mr. Minton, Jesse Prince, and Stacy Brooks.

January - February 1999: As directors of FACTNet, Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks were involved in settlement negotiations with high-level Scientologists Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder for a period of two months. The main purpose of the settlement discussions from the Scientology perspective was to persuade Mr. Minton to sign an agreement to stop funding litigation and cut off money to people fighting Scientology. Once again, the Scientologists said that if Mr. Minton would quit giving financial and litigation support to others, they would leave Mr. Minton and his friends and family alone. In negotiations on this matter, Mr. Minton said he intended to continue to support the McPherson case. The Scientologists said they would not cease their harassment of him unless ALL support was cut, especially the McPherson case. No agreement was reached between Mr. Minton and the Scientologists, although a settlement was concluded in the FACTNet case. True to their word, the Scientologists continued the campaign to destroy Mr. Minton.

February 12, 1999: Mr. Minton delivered a speech entitled "A Warning on the Evils of Scientology" at the Leo J. Ryan Educational Foundation conference in Stamford, Connecticut.

March 1999: Scientology turned its full attention on Jeff Schmidt, Mr. Minton's former business partner, harassing him relentlessly to get him to put pressure on Mr. Minton to stop exposing Scientology's criminal conduct.

March 12, 1999: Several Scientologists picketed the home of Jesse Prince's father in Memphis, Tennessee. Mr. Prince Sr. called the police, who ordered the picketers to leave.

April 1999: A Danish television station asked Jesse Prince to fly to Copenhagen to be interviewed for a documentary about Scientology. Aaron Mason, a member of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs in Los Angeles, sent the station manager a large pack of materials designed to portray Mr. Prince as an immoral and dangerous criminal. Mr. Prince was in Copenhagen for approximately two weeks, and he was followed by Scientology operatives throughout his stay.

July 1999: While Mr. Minton was conducting peaceful protests against Scientology in Clearwater, Scientology operatives let him know by remarks made to him that they knew his wife and children were in Spain. Three times during his family's visit to Spain, a Scientology operative photographed them.

July 1999: Scientology operatives broke into Jeff Schmidt's London office and photocopied extensive files. Mr. Schmidt was later told by a Scientology private investigator that if he could not convince Mr. Minton to end his opposition to Scientology, all of the files would be turned over to the Inland Revenue and the Nigerian Media. Mr. Schmidt called Mr. Minton and begged him to stop criticizing Scientology. Mr. Minton tried to convince Mr. Schmidt to go to the authorities and report Scientology's conduct as blackmail, but Mr. Schmidt was frightened of what the Scientologists would do to him and his family, and he refused.

August 1999: A Scientology private investigator from Denver, Colorado, visited the mother of Jesse Prince's daughter and attempted to induce her to sign a derogatory statement about Mr. Prince. The man told her that Mr. Prince had sexually abused her many years before, and that she should press charges against him for it. Only when the woman threatened to call the police did the man agree to leave.

August 18, 1999: An email was sent to Mr. Minton under the pseudonym "Alberto Rafallo." The sender accused Mr. Minton of illegally controlling the litigation that attorneys Dan Leipold and Ken Dandar were conducting, based on the funding that Mr. Minton had provided for lawsuits whose clients these attorneys represented. This was the first indication that Scientology would begin to attack Mr. Minton directly for the funding he was providing to various litigation efforts. (In fact, Mr. Minton has never attempted to exert any control whatsoever over any of the litigation for which he has provided funds. Yet Scientology has characterized his funding of the suits as an effort on his part to capitalize on religious bigotry and hate mongering. None of Scientology's attorneys has ever made it clear how Mr. Minton could possibly be making money from his efforts to end Scientology's criminal conduct. To date, he has spent several million dollars with no expectation of ever getting any of his money back.) "Alberto Raffallo" apparently hoped to frighten Mr. Minton into responding by threatening to post his information to the Internet. Mr. Minton never responded to him, and the information was never posted.

August 26-27, 1999: Mr. Minton and Stacy Brooks had dinner at the Palm Restaurant in Philadelphia with Ken Dandar, the attorney for the Lisa McPherson estate in the wrongful death case brought against Scientology's Clearwater arm. Several Scientologists surrounded the table during dinner in an attempt to harass them, and the next morning six Scientologists picketed outside the hotel where they were staying.

September 1999: The same Scientology private investigator that had followed Jesse Prince in Denver followed him from Boulder, Colorado, to Minneapolis, Minnesota. The man checked into the same hotel where Mr. Prince was staying. Later, surveillance photographs of Mr. Prince and a friend were posted on the Internet. A number of Mr. Prince's former business contacts reported that they had been visited by a Scientology private investigator attempting to discredit Mr. Prince.

September 17, 1999: Therese Minton received an anonymous letter informing her that Mr. Minton had been in Philadelphia with Stacy Brooks. Also included in the envelope was a copy of a post made by former Scientologist Charlotte Kates on ARS. The subject was "An Evening at the Palm," dated 08/27/99. The post was included as evidence that Mr. Minton was in Philadelphia.

October 1999: An old friend of Jesse Prince called him to let him know that a Scientology private investigator had contacted him and offered him $10,000 to act as a go-between so that a settlement between Scientology and Mr. Prince could be reached.

October 15-27, 1999: Ms. Brooks tried to lease office space in downtown Clearwater in preparation for opening the Lisa McPherson Trust, Inc. but was refused by every office building. On October 21, MKV Realty, the company that owns the Sun Trust Building at 601 Cleveland Avenue, became the first to refuse. The owner would not to return telephone calls, and the manager would not say why the lease had been refused. Mr. Minton was prepared to pay the full amount of the first year's lease in advance, but this did not resolve the problem. Because no legitimate reason was forthcoming, Ms. Brooks suspected that Scientology was trying to stop her from leasing any space, but she had no proof. One of the realtors finally admitted to her that he had received information about the principles of the Lisa McPherson Trust, including information that Mr. Minton had been convicted of assault and battery with a deadly weapon stemming from an incident in September 1998 in which he caused serious bodily harm to a Scientologist in Boston. This was patently false and information was sent to the realtor to correct this. However, he still refused to lease to the Lisa Trust. He then admitted that Scientology had contacted him and threatened to put pressure on all of the other tenants to move out if he leased space to the Lisa McPherson Trust.

October 19-20, 1999: Mr. Minton received telephone calls from several people who lived in his Boston neighborhood. They said they had received a letter from Scientology that read as follows: "If you have any dealings with Mr. Minton of 137 Fremont Rd., Sandown, New Hampshire, please be aware of his activities on the internet. This sort of behavior by Mr. Minton has occurred repeatedly and he has acted out some of his expressions in the form of violence at various times. He appears to be incapable of controlling himself; thus you are being alerted."

October 25, 1999: Mr. Minton received telephone calls from five different people in Sandown, New Hampshire, from different parts of town, telling him they had received the same letter that was sent out in Boston the preceding week.

October 26, 1999: The two schools that Mr. Minton's daughters attended in Boston received the same letter that Scientology had mailed out in Boston and Sandown.

October 26, 1999: Mr. Minton received a four-page newsletter from Scientology in his mailbox. It was called "Clear Body Clear Mind" and appeared to be a promotional mailing for a Scientology procedure called the Purification Rundown. This was mailed from the Dianetics Center of Massachusetts.

October 30, 1999: A Halloween flier was put on Mr. Minton's and other mailboxes on Fremont Road in Sandown, New Hampshire. The flier featured a photograph of Mr. Minton and a headline that read: "Trick or Treaters Beware!"

October 31, 1999: Mr. Minton arrived at the Tampa International Airport and was met by two Scientologists, who shouted at him, "Bob, what are you doing in our town? Get out of our town!" He and Ms. Brooks were then followed from the airport to Clearwater, and to their hotel. Richard Howd was one of the Scientologists who followed Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks from the airport to their hotel. Mr. Minton stopped the car near the entrance to the hotel and got out to confront the Scientologists. While Mr. Minton spoke to the woman who was driving the car, Mr. Howd held a video camera inches from Mr. Minton's face. He continued to do this throughout the conversation, until Mr. Minton got back into his car. That evening Mr. Minton picketed in front of the Fort Harrison Hotel, and again Richard Howd was there, keeping a video camera inches from his face as he walked back and forth picketing. Ms. Brooks was also there, videotaping so that there would be a record of what happened, as the presence of Mr. Howd was a disturbing signal that the harassment against Mr. Minton was escalating. Finally, as Mr. Minton rounded the corner of the building, two Scientologists blocked Ms. Brooks so that she could not follow with her camera. Richard Howd pushed Mr. Minton while he was sure he was not being videotaped. At this point Mr. Minton decided to call the police. He began to cross the street and pulled out his cell phone to call, but Richard Howd followed Mr. Minton across the street, holding the video camera close to Mr. Minton's ear. Mr. Minton turned around and told Howd to get away from him, thrusting his sign at him defensively. The sign grazed Howd's eyebrow. ImMediately Howd fell to the ground, moaning as if he were in extreme pain. The police arrived and the Scientologists showed them the videotape of Mr. Minton thrusting his sign at Howd as he crossed the street. Because there was no videotape of Howd's earlier assault on Mr. Minton, the Scientologists were able to convince the police to arrest Mr. Minton. He was handcuffed and taken to the Pinellas County Jail, arrested for battery. Scientology imMediately began to send Mr. Minton's mug shot to his friends and neighbors in an effort to identify him as a criminal. (Mr. Minton went to trial in March 2000 and was acquitted after the jury heard evidence that made it clear Mr. Minton had been set up by Scientology. However, Scientology has continued to this day to use this incident to harass Mr. Minton.)

November 1999: Jesse Prince accepted an invitation from the German Secret Service to meet with them in Mannheim so that they could interview him about Scientology. Mr. Prince was there for three days and was followed by Scientology operatives constantly while he was there. One evening, two Scientology operatives attempted to force Mr. Prince into a car with them. Mr. Prince was forced to run into a crowd to escape. Before he left Germany Mr. Prince met with an editor of the German magazine Der Spiegel for an interview about child abuse in Scientology's Sea Organization. On his return to the United States Mr. Prince had a layover in Amsterdam. A Scientology private investigator followed him to an Internet café there and watched him as he sent an email to Mr. Minton. Later, Scientology falsely reported in the Lisa McPherson wrongful death case that Mr. Prince had been seen smoking marijuana in the café.

November 1, 1999: Mr. Minton had decided to buy a building in downtown Clearwater for the Lisa McPherson Trust, since Scientology had successfully blocked him from leasing office space in any of the office buildings downtown. The morning after Mr. Minton's arrest, Scott Brauer, the owner of the property at 33 North Fort Harrison Avenue, was giving Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks a tour of his building when suddenly seven Scientologists burst into the room and began screaming at Mr. Brauer, "Don't do business with this man! He's a criminal! He was arrested last night for assaulting a Scientologist!" Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks had already told Mr. Brauer what happened the night before. Mr. Brauer ordered the Scientologists out of the building, informing them that they were trespassing. They then began picketing the building and taking photographs of Mr. Brauer's clients as they arrived. Mr. Brauer then called the police, who came in and introduced themselves to Mr. Minton and thanked him for taking a stand against Scientology. When Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks left the building, the Scientologists followed them to their car in the parking lot across the street and surrounded the car in a menacing manner. They blocked them from leaving the parking lot until the manager of the parking lot called the police.

November 4, 1999: An anonymous flier showing the mug shot from Mr. Minton's Clearwater arrest was sent to over 4,000 Sandown, New Hampshire, residents, Mr. Minton's friends and family in Boston and England, parents of Mr. Minton's daughters' classmates and the schools of Mr. Minton's two daughters. A private detective visited the twelve houses in the small English village where Mr. Minton's father-in-law lived, informing everyone in the village about Mr. Minton's arrest in Clearwater.

November 6, 1999: Mr. Minton was served with a temporary restraining order, enjoining him from coming within 150 yards of the 18 Scientology buildings in Clearwater, and also enjoining him from coming within 150 yards of any individual Scientologist. Because there are so many Scientologists in Clearwater, this effectively barred Mr. Minton from Clearwater.

November 20, 1999: A private investigator hired by Scientology contacted the father of Leslie White in New Canaan, Connecticut. Ms. Brooks and Mr. Minton had both stayed with the White family in February 1998 to help Leslie, who had just left Scientology and was close to having a nervous breakdown. The private investigator falsely stated to Leslie's father that he had been hired by Therese Minton and wanted to know what Leslie's father knew about Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks' relationship. The investigator told Mr. White that Mr. Minton was "bipolar" and needed to be on medication on a daily basis for his "mental imbalance." The private investigator also called Leslie's mother and Leslie herself; unsuccessfully attempting to convince them to talk to him about Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks.

November 23, 1999: Another anonymous flier was placed in the mailboxes of Mr. Minton's Sandown, New Hampshire, neighborhood. The flier was a copy of a web page Scientology had created on the Internet showing the mug shot from Mr. Minton's October 31 arrest in Clearwater and painting a grossly distorted picture of what had happened.

November 1999: Mr. Minton entered into a contract to buy the office building at 33 North Fort Harrison Avenue. The owner, Scott Brauer, told Mr. Minton that a Scientologist came and sat in the reception room of the building for hours with a signed offer to buy the building for substantially more than Mr. Minton's contract. Mr. Minton was contacted by another property owner in Clearwater who told him that it was impossible to rent office space to tenants in Clearwater because of harassment from Scientology. Every time anyone tried to lease a space, Scientology operatives would intimidate the potential client until they gave up in fear. In this way, this property owner explained, Scientology was forcing the prices of all property in Clearwater down to rock bottom, at which point they would buy it all up themselves. With regard to Mr. Minton in particular, a property owner informed him that a member of the City Commissioner's office made calls to all the property owners in Clearwater warning them not to sell property to Mr. Minton. One property owner said she got 40 calls in one day telling her not to do business with Minton or his co-workers. Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks were provided with a photocopy of a fax that had been sent naming three people with whom the property owner was not to have any dealings. The three people were Robert Minton, Stacy Brooks and Jesse Prince.

December 3, 1999: Judge Thomas Penick issued a temporary injunction prohibiting Mr. Minton from coming within ten feet of any Scientologist or Scientology property in downtown Clearwater.

December 12, 1999: Dateline ran a follow-up story about Mr. Minton in which Scientology spokesperson Mike Rinder made the following statements:

"Bob Minton falls into a category similar to those anti-Semites who are out to make it seem like there is something wrong with being a Jew," and later: "I don't know what motivates this guy, I don't know what. But on the other hand if you ask me do I know what motivated Timothy McVey to go blow up a building, I don't know either."

December 1999: A flier was distributed in the Boulder, Colorado, neighborhood in which Jesse Prince was living. The flier's title was "Jesse Prince: The Face of Religious Bigotry," and it had a photograph of Mr. Prince from a recent arrest. The Boulder police had received an anonymous call that Mr. Prince was driving while intoxicated, and based on this he had been arrested. The text of the flier accused Mr. Prince of being part of an anti-religious hate group and of physically threatening Scientologists. It also stated:

"Prince is closely associated with and financially supported by a religious bigot named Robert Minton, who has a long history of mental problems and psychiatric treatment. Together they have threatened individuals with axes and sledgehammers and threw rocks at these people and property. Prince and Minton regularly show up drunk and disorderly in front of church premises just to cause trouble. Minton has discharged a shotgun at our people, an incident under investigation by law enforcement. Prince has recently been arrested for drunk driving in Boulder and Minton faces trial this December for assault and battery when he attacked another individual with a stick and beat him across the face. Next time you see this man Prince (or his sidekick Minton), recognize the face of religious bigotry."

It was signed "Free Speech & Religious Freedom Committee of The Parishioners of The Church of Scientology of Colorado."

December 10, 1999: The Tampa Tribune published a favorable piece by columnist Rick Berry about Mr. Minton and the Lisa McPherson Trust entitled "Bob Minton: Will he rouse the gorilla?" In it, Berry congratulated Mr. Minton for standing up to Scientology, the "gorilla" in downtown Clearwater.

Introduction xx1996vv 1997vv 1998vv 1999vv 2000vv 2001

Home--What is Scientology--Legal Section-- Personal Stories- -LMT Media