|Died||January 20, 2010 (aged 63)
Founder, Lisa McPherson trust
Early life and career
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Criticism of Scientology
Minton became a critic of Scientology after reading about its attacks on critics and internet free speech. He appeared on several news programs discussing his criticism of Scientology and the harassment from the church. This included a feature appearance on the June 16, 1998 broadcast of the television news program Dateline NBC. Later that year, he appeared in an A&E "Investigative Reports" installment called "Inside Scientology" which aired in December.
Minton spent over $10 million fighting Scientology. He also participated in demonstrations in front of the Boston Headquarters of the Church of Scientology near his Beacon Hill home.
- This included about $2 million he spent on the Lisa McPherson wrongful death case.
- Minton offered a reward of $360,000 to anyone who would leave Scientology with enough information to cause the organization to lose its federal tax exemption. The amount of money was based on the amount of money critics say Scientology charges for courses.
- In November 1997, he spent $260,000 to buy a house for a cat sanctuary for former Scientologists Vaughn and Stacy Young.
- Minton also gave money to a number of other church critics, including three people whom Scientology accuses of infringement of its copyrights.
After reports by Scientology alleging fraud in his Nigerian businesses, Minton successfully sued two German Scientology entities and a spokeswoman for a permanent injunction preventing them from repeating the libel. The decision was confirmed on appeal.
Lisa McPherson Trust
Minton founded the Lisa McPherson Trust (LMT) in 1999, which brought a civil suit against the Church of Scientology for the wrongful death of Lisa McPherson and provided legal assistance to former Scientologists who alleged maltreatment or abuse by the Church. The trust operated out of Clearwater, Florida, home to Flag Land Base, Scientology's spiritual headquarters. Frequent confrontations between the LMT and Scientology began not long after the founding of the trust.
Minton changed his testimony in the McPherson case after a Scientology probe onto his financial affairs. Minton was repeatedly ordered to attend depositions and questioned by Scientology lawyers about his alleged financial dealings. In addition, years later former church members detailed how Scientology investigated Minton finding information he was "worried about". Critics of Scientology believe that Minton was blackmailed by the Church of Scientology. On March 16, 2002 Minton called Mike Rinder and on April 6 of that year they met. At that meeting Minton told Rinder that there were lies told in the case and he feared Scientology would uncover those lies in court and he would be sent to jail for perjury.
|“||I don't want my life defined by Scientology anymore. I just want some peace.||”|
|— Bob Minton, |
During an April 20, 2002, hearing in the Lisa McPherson wrongful death lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, Minton spoke against Ken Dandar, the attorney representing McPherson's family. In a 26-page affidavit, Minton stated that Tampa attorney Ken Dandar asked him to lie, drew up false court records for him to sign and urged him to generate bad publicity for the Church of Scientology to prejudice potential jurors in the McPherson wrongful death case as Scientology tried to get the wrongful death case dismissed on grounds of serious misconduct by Ken Dandar and his client. Minton's affidavit gave new details about how involved Minton was in the wrongful death case from the start, stating that he gave Dandar more than $2 million to finance the case and paying witnesses to testify against the church. Dandar took the witness stand to explain the origin of Swiss bank checks totaling $750,000 that Minton allegedly gave him. Minton also testified about two financial arrangements in which $800,000 of his money was transferred from Europe to the Lisa McPherson Trust and that he had kept a portion of that money because he wanted to hide the source of the Trust's funding from the Church of Scientology.
Despite the allegations the presiding judge declined to remove attorney Dandar from the case, stating that she did not believe Minton's testimony, and that he had lied in an attempt to escape income taxes. Six months before she had already remarked that it was irrelevant how much money Minton had put into the case.
In August 2009, John Fashanu, who in 2000 accused Minton and Ibrahim Babangida of stealing money from Nigeria, apologized saying "I can say it again and again, that there was nothing like debt buy-back or any billions stacked away in any account anywhere." In 2000, Minton said that Fashanu was given false information by the Church of Scientology to attack him.
In October 2009, Rinder and Marty Rathbun told the St. Petersburg Times that Scientology silenced Minton by digging into his financial details and secretly recording conversations. This included the Nigeria allegations in 2000. Rinder told the Times: "There were things that, really, he was worried about and had caused problems for him in the investigation that we had done" and that Minton and the church had reached a private settlement. Rinder, after leaving the church in 2007, described Minton as a friend in a 2009 interview.
Minton died in Clonbur, Ireland of a heart ailment on January 20, 2010, at the age of 63. His funeral was held on the following Monday, at St. Mary of the Rosary Church, Cong, County Mayo, Ireland. He is buried in Lisloughrey Cemetery.
- Minton received the Cult Awareness Network's Leo J. Ryan Award on October 27, 2001 and was the first one to receive the "Alternative Charlemagne Award" in 2000.
- "Robert Minton death notice", The New York Times, 24 Jan 2010
- Senate backs debt buy-back to reduce external debts, The Vanguard (Nigeria), July 2, 2000
- Dateline NBC, June 16, 1998 http://www.lermanet.com/LMT/minton/dateline061698.html
- A & E Investigative Reports: "Inside Scientology", December 14, 1998
- O'Neil, Deborah (2002-07-07). "How Scientology turned its biggest critic". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2006-08-05.
- Millionaire's bizarre feud with Scientology escalates LUCY MORGAN, St. Petersburg Times, Aug 3, 1998
- Scientology sponsored suit against opponent LUCY MORGAN, THOMAS C. TOBIN, St. Petersburg Times, Dec 23, 1997
- Decision of Landgericht Berlin, Gz: 27.O.764/00, March 27, 2001
- Die aktuelle Entwicklung der Rechtsprechung zu neueren Glaubens und Weltanschauungsgemeinschaften, by Prof. Dr. Ralf B. Abel
- Kammergericht Berlin, Gz: 9 U 115/01, May 24, 2002
- Total victory for Bob Minton in Berlin, lermanet.com
- Tobin, Thomas C. (1999-12-04). "Church draws line for critics". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2006-08-13.
- "How Scientology got to Bob Minton". St. Petersburg Times. November 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- Scientology foes bitterly split DEBORAH O'NEIL, St. Petersburg Times, Apr 20, 2002
- Scientology foes continue rancor DEBORAH O'NEIL, St. Petersburg Times, May 1, 2002
- Scientology turncoat taken to task DEBORAH O'NEIL, St. Petersburg Times, Jun 13, 2002
- Ruling lets Scientology death lawsuit proceed, St. Petersburg Times, January 14, 2003
- Allegations won't alter church suit, St. Petersburg Times, May 3, 2002
- "Nigeria: Tracking The Fashanu Report". Daily Independent. Apr 10, 2000. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- "Nigeria: Fashanu in Public Court". Daily Independent. August 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- "Season Of Apologies". The News Nigeria. August 17, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- on YouTube Xenutv recorded in 2000
- "Nigeria: Senate backs debt buy-back to reduce external debts". Daily Independent. Jul 2, 2000. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- Tobin, Thomas (2010-01-29). "Robert S. Minton, a former Scientology critic, dies of heart ailment". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2010-01-29.
- Article in Leipziger Volkszeitung, 3 June 2000 (English translation)
- Award page
- Bowman, Lisa M. (2003-05-01). "Anti-Scientology site spurs award". CNET. Retrieved 2007-09-25.