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


Robert Minton began his career in international banking upon his graduation from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1971. In 1980, Mr. Minton pioneered an entrepreneurial investment banking activity that in time created a worldwide market for trading debt instruments of developing countries. He remained in this field until his retirement in early 1993.

After his retirement, Mr. Minton became an avid enthusiast of the rapidly expanding technological field of the Internet. A staunch advocate of free speech, he joined an Internet organization called the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), whose purpose was to keep its members apprised of developments that might affect free speech rights on the Internet.

In January 1995, Mr. Minton read in the EFF newsletter about an incident that was causing serious alarm in the Internet community. An attorney named Helena Kobrin had attempted to shut down an Internet newsgroup, alt.religion.scientology or ARS, because some of its participants were criticizing her client - the Church of Scientology. Mr. Minton had never heard of Scientology before, but he became curious, as did many other Internet enthusiasts, about what kind of an organization would be concerned enough about criticism to take such a drastic measure. He searched the Internet and quickly found that there was a substantial amount of information that detailed a widespread pattern of fraud and abuse by Scientology. As he learned more, Mr. Minton became increasingly disturbed about this organization that was violating the rights of its adherents, seemingly without anyone in a position of authority in the United States trying to do anything to stop it.

Mr. Minton made contact with other free speech advocates on the Internet who had also become alarmed by Scientology's attempt to shut down ARS. He met a number of former Scientology adherents who recounted experiences that further confirmed his concerns. By October 1995, Mr. Minton was motivated to protest publicly against Scientology's human rights violations, hoping thereby to bring attention to the dangers of this organization. In March 1996, he traveled from his Boston home to Clearwater, Florida, where he joined others for a peaceful protest against Scientology's criminal fraud and abuse. For the first time, Mr. Minton saw young children dressed in uniforms, staring blankly as they marched en masse through the streets of downtown Clearwater. He was appalled by what he saw, and the experience had a severe impact on him. With his first public protest in Clearwater, he now came to the attention of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs.

Referred to by its acronym, OSA, this is the branch of Scientology that is responsible for dealing with individuals who criticize Scientology. Over the years, OSA (or its predecessor, the Guardian's Office, or GO) has done away with a long list of Scientology critics, utilizing identical tactics each time. OSA's methods include harassment of the individual and his or her family and associates, causing the individual legal problems in whatever ways possible, isolating the individual from family and friends, and, where possible by either legal or illegal means, causing the individual to be arrested, tried and convicted of criminal acts. By bringing about a criminal conviction, Scientology would, of course, be able to discredit the critic and thereby neutralize his or her effectiveness.

In 1980, a number of high-ranking Scientologists were themselves convicted of criminal conduct as a result of illegal actions taken to silence critics. Thousands of documents were seized from OSA's forerunner, the Guardian's Office, that revealed how far Scientology was willing to go to neutralize anyone who dared to criticize it. The documents showed that Scientology operatives launched painstakingly detailed projects to cause a number of individuals to be arrested on false criminal charges. Some of these projects were successful and some were not, but the pattern of conduct was clear. After these documents were made public, the Scientology leadership under the current head, David Miscavige, announced that the criminal conduct had been limited to a small number of "renegade" Scientologists, all of whom had been dismissed. Shortly afterward, the Guardian's Office was disbanded amidst much fanfare that the "criminals" had been purged. However, the Office of Special Affairs replaced the Guardian's Office, and evidence reveals that the same tactics have continued uninterrupted to this day. Mr. Minton would soon discover how relentless OSA can be.

In March 1996 during his return to Boston, Mr. Minton posted a message on ARS offering $360,000 - the cost of Scientology's so-called "Bridge to Total Freedom" - to anyone with evidence that would lead to the revocation of Scientology's tax exemption. Although no one ever came forward with the requested information, his message caught the attention of Scientologists who watched the newsgroup. Mr. Minton also provided financial assistance to several Scientology critics, including Grady Ward, Keith Henson, Lawrence Wollersheim and Arnaldo Lerma, who had become targets of Scientology's infamous "Fair Game" practices, in which anyone who is identified as an "enemy" can be tricked, sued, lied to or destroyed for the good of Scientology. Mr. Minton felt that it was unfair for Scientology to use the full force of its wealth and power to destroy its critics and wanted to try to level the playing field.

In the fall of 1997, Mr. Minton offered financial assistance to two other former Scientologists, Stacy and Vaughn Young. (Stacy and Vaughn were divorced in 1999 and Stacy reverted to her maiden name, Brooks. This is how she will be identified in this narrative.) CBS's 60 Minutes had interviewed Stacy for a program that was to be highly critical of Scientology. Vaughn had been invited to testify about Scientology's abuse before a court in Hamburg, Germany. In an effort to frighten the Youngs into pulling out of the program and the testimony, Scientology mounted an intensive campaign of harassment and intimidation against them, bringing in a team of private investigators with orders to destroy them financially and force them to call off the program and testimony. Mr. Minton heard about their struggle and contacted them. Because of his financial assistance, the Youngs were able to survive the harassment. Subsequently, the 60 Minutes segment aired on December 27, 1997, and Vaughn Young traveled to Germany to testify later that fall.

Mr. Minton's unexpected interference with Scientology's plans to silence the Youngs seems to have been the last straw. Within days of his first contact with the Youngs, OSA had launched its first attack in a relentless campaign of harassment and intimidation that continues to this day. What follows is a history of the lengths to which Scientology has gone to neutralize Mr. Minton as a critic of Scientology.

Scientology is waging a war of psychological terrorism against Mr. Minton, designed to isolate him from all his friends, his family and any other potential supporters who fear that the wrath of Scientology will befall them like it has Mr. Minton's former business partner Jeff Schmidt. These high-pressure mafia-like tactics are calculated to destroy Mr. Minton in accordance with the Fair Game policies of Scientology. This campaign against him is directed by David Miscavige, the head of Scientology, and executed by the Office of Special Affairs.

The Lisa McPherson case continues to be Scientology's main legal and public relations problem. Mr. Minton has provided funding for this case, and from the very beginning of his involvement, Scientology has cried foul. According to the New York Times, his support of this case has angered them more than anything else he has done. Additionally, Scientology did not want the LMT or Mr. Minton in Clearwater because they have become a focal point in the community for opposition to this cult and because they have helped many people to leave Scientology successfully.

These actions against Mr. Minton are part of a 50-year campaign by Scientology to covertly stifle freedom of association and free speech when that speech is focused on Scientology's policies and practices that deprive its members and critics of their inalienable rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. We take our rights for granted in our society, but it is a little known fact that we have absolutely no rights under our Constitution unless we are willing to stand up and affirmatively assert them. Unfortunately, this is the price that a litigious cult like Scientology forces us to pay, because they are so willing to strip their members and critics of as many of our rights as we will cede them. With enough support, we will not cede them any of our rights.

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