Scientology Critical Information Directory

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Robert Dardano

Former scientologist.
Former member of the Guardian Office.


Boston Globe (May 1983): "Scientology defectors charge 'dirty tricks' in Boston" by Ben Bradlee Jr.

Robert Dardano and Warren Friske were trusted members of the Boston mission of the Church of Scientology in the mid-1970s when they say they were recruited to join a group of other church members intent on carrying out "dirty tricks" against critics and others deemed enemies of the church in this area.

The activities of the group included break-ins, the theft of documents, harassment and misrepresentation, according to sworn testimony by Dardano in Florida last year and affidavits from him and Friske on file as part of pending civil litigation in Suffolk Superior Court and US District Court in Boston.

In separate interviews with The Globe, Dardano and Friske - both of whom are now assisting Michael J. Flynn, a Boston lawyer who represents almost three dozen Scientology defectors around the country - expanded on those affidavits. They said their efforts were part of a nationwide church campaign to gain incriminating evidence on its critics, as well as to gather intelligence on law enforcement agencies and media outlets, both of which they said the church considered threats.

Leaders of the Church of Scientology of Boston refused to be interviewed about the allegations raised in the documents and interviews.

However, through its lawyer, Harvey A. Silverglate, the church said in a letter to The Globe that it is investigating the charges made by Dardano and Friske to determine if they are true, and what role, if any, others in the church might have played in the activities. But Silverglate said that from the church investigation so far "it appears quite clear" that Dardano and Friske were acting without the authorization of the church and contrary to church policy.

Silverglate wrote that if law enforcement authorities investigate and confirm the allegations, "the church stands ready and willing to cooperate with such authorities to achieve justice."

Dardano, 32, of Dorchester, was a member of the church from 1972 to 1975, and for part of that time was involved in intelligence gathering and "dirty tricks." Friske, a member of the church from 1972 to 1982, said he was head of internal security for the Boston church and the custodian of its most sensitive files. He is 35 and now lives in Lynn.

The activities that Dardano and Friske alleged in interviews, affidavits, depositions or other sworn testimony that they and others were involved with on behalf of the church include:

  • The burglary of the Belmont office of a psychiatrist in 1975 in order to steal the doctor's files on one of his patients, who had written a book highly critical of Scientology.
  • The theft of documents from the Boston law firm of Bingham, Dana and Gould, counsel for The Boston Globe, in late 1974 as part of a plan to monitor the newspaper's preparation of a Sunday Magazine article on the church.
  • The systematic theft and destruction of books critical of the church from libraries throughout New England.
  • The planting of a church member as a volunteer inside the state attorney general's office to intercept consumer complaints about Scientology. They said the volunteer also used his position to call other law enforcement agencies around the country to elicit information the agencies had on the church.

In addition, according to Scientology documents and interviews with Friske and Dardano, some members of the church were also engaged in a campaign to discredit a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School, psychiatrist John Clark Jr., who has done extensive research into cults and who has frequently spoken out against Scientology. [...]

Clearwater Sun: "Witnesses Tell of Break-ins, Conspiracy" by Steven Girardi

[...] Spies were placed also in Massachusetts government agencies as part of a seven-man conspiracy established in Boston, testified Robert Dardano, a member of the team. [...]

City of Clearwater Commission Hearing: The Church of Scientology - Day 4, Robert Dardano

[...] The people that were in the Better Business Bureau would interrupt complaints coming from public people about the Church. And, basically, it was turned right around and sent right back to the public with no satisfaction, although the public felt they were being satisfied because they had reached someone in the Better Business Bureau.

The Attorney General's Office agent was — he had uncovered a couple of attacks coming from public people. And his cover was finally blown by the fact that he requested information on the Church from the Justice Department. This — Mr. Mayer mentioned Bill Foster's name before. Bill Foster was the head of this — he was the captain of this particular group, and he had been there since 1971. He was operating the overt data/covert data collections from '71 to '76 in Boston. And it wasn't until George Bristol's cover was blown at the Attorney General's Office that the line was disbanded and the group of seven people were sent to different parts of the country. [...]

The — it was very difficult for a public person in Boston to make a complaint about the Church and have it go anywhere. We had all the bases covered. They couldn't — if they called the Attorney General's Office, George Bristol was sitting there and he's handling all Scientology cases. So, it was just "Fine, ma'am, we'll take care of it," and it wouldn't go anywhere from there.

Anything that was even a hint or a mention of Scientology was brought out, as much information as  we would immediately look into that individual that brought up the issue of Scientology and he was completely investigated to find out what he did. We put people under surveillance to find out where they were going and what they would do. [...]

Affidavit of Robert Dardano (1 July 1981)

[...] 4. My first assignment was for a group in the G.O. called "O.D.C.", Overt Data Collections. Four to five people worked in O.D.C. Our responsibility included collecting information and data on various people and interest groups including Mayor Kevin White, the heads of various banks in Boston, members of Congress, the Massachusetts Senate, owners and operators of radio and T.V. stations, lawyers, judges, etc. [...]