Double Crossed

The Church of Scientology has a reputation for ruthlessly going after its enemies. Robert Cipriano claims Scientologists rewarded him for helping them do just that. Now he's turned on them.

Cipriano says that the improbability of an LAPD detective showing up to drag him to face a criminal charge in New Jersey didn't really register with him. "There was a cop at my door, and I think, 'I'm going to New Jersey and I'm going to be arrested and I'm going straight to jail,' " he recalls in an interview. In his August court declaration, Cipriano claims that Ingram told him he was aware of the New Jersey matter and told Cipriano that he should be helpful. "It was a natural presumption for me to conclude that if I did not assist him in any [and] all manners that he would arrest me and take me to New Jersey before I could retain legal representation," Cipriano states.

Cipriano tells New Times that he was relieved when Ingram moved on from the subject of his legal troubles to Spiegelman and Berry. Cipriano assumed that Ingram was really interested in reports that Spiegelman's clients had never retrieved all their money. But then Ingram bored in on questions about Berry and his lifestyle.

"He started getting accusatory and sick. Homophobic. 'Did Berry like to suck cock? Did he take it up the ass?' " Cipriano recounts in his court declaration.

Robert Cipriano

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Cipriano says that he acknowledged to Ingram that Berry was gay and that he had had numerous young -- but not underage -- male partners in 1984.

From his declaration: "Without warning, the discussion turned domineering and combative when Mr. Ingram started to ask seriously deranged questions. For example: 'You saw Graham Berry with underage boys -- 12-year-olds, right?' 'Graham was a cocaine addict, right?' and 'Graham Berry was a really sick faggot, right?' He was not questioning me any further, yet demanding that this had happened and that had happened. I asked him to back off and slow down."

But Cipriano says Ingram continued, asking him whether he knew if Berry took boys to The Anvil, a Manhattan after-hours gay club. "I stated that 'I have never gone to a place like that; I would not know if he did or did not,' " Cipriano writes.

Cipriano says that when he said he didn't know the ages of Berry's partners, Ingram angrily "pushed the New Jersey buttons" again.

"Now I just wanted him out of my house. But he lightened up," Cipriano says. Ingram asked if he could write up a declaration and bring it by the next day. Cipriano says he acquiesced just to get Ingram to leave. Drained, Cipriano says he left the house for a drink. When he came back, he learned that Ingram had returned to talk to his wife. "As my wife had no part or knowledge of my lifestyle, friends, or business associates in the early 1980s, this caused me some serious anxiety."

The next day, Ingram showed up at Cipriano's New York office. He says the investigator had written a declaration for him to sign; it stated that Spiegelman and Berry used large amounts of cocaine and preferred sex with underage boys: "Mr. Berry was a classic example of a 'Chicken Hawk,' which in street vernacular is a term for an adult male who has sexual relations with boys under the age of 16....Mr. Berry told me that he would sodomize these boys and have them orally copulate his penis. Between May 1984 and February 1985 I personally observed at least 50 to 60 boys between the ages of 14 and 16 in the company of Mr. Berry at the law firm....I also observed a side of Mr. Berry which I felt was even 'seedier.' He used to frequent the Anvil Club in Greenwich Village in New York City. Homosexual males at the club would orally copulate and sodomized each other in open view of the other patrons. Inside the club they also practices [sic] sadistic and masochistic sex acts upon each other, including inserting their greased hand up the rectum of the other and placing their penis through a hole in the wall, commonly called a 'glory hole,' where an anonymous male would orally copulate it. Mr. Berry once told me about taking a boy of 12 years of age to the Anvil Club for the purpose of introducing him to gay sex."

Cipriano says he balked at signing the document. "He took my basic statements and painted a different picture than I had presented the day before. I told him that this was not what I had said, and he instantaneously became furious and belligerent with me again, because I dared to challenge him on the ages of the males involved with Mr. Berry. He said, 'The next time you open your door at home it is not going to be me, but New Jersey. Now sign it.' "

Finally, Cipriano signed the declaration. He says Ingram told him the document would be filed with the LAPD and would probably never be used.

"We [Berry, Spiegelman, and Cipriano] did the drugs," Cipriano says today, "but the other statements were distortions. This is not what I said."

Jerome Spiegelman, who was also approached by Ingram, tells New Times: "There was very little in [Cipriano's 1994 declaration] that was true....It's nonsense. Absolute, total nonsense." Spiegelmen acknowledges that young men did work for Berry, but he says they were not underage boys. "There were some guys working there who were in their early 20s....[Ingram] asked me if Graham took out people who were 14 to 15. I said, 'Don't be stupid.' "

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