In a June 1952 lecture titled “Off the Track Time,” L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, stated the following: “The only way you can control people is to lie to them. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them.” (Quoted in Journal of Scientology issue 18-G, reprinted in Technical Volumes of Dianetics & Scientology, Vol. 1, pg. 418.)
Denise Miscavige Gentile—twin sister of Church of Scientology head David Miscavige, and herself a lifelong Scientology practitioner—would do L. Ron Hubbard proud.
Interviewed by Clearwater, Florida, Police Detective Stephen Bohling on August 27, 2008, and deposed on July 23, 2010, by Attorney Ken Dandar representing the Estate of Kyle Brennan, Gentile lied repeatedly. What’s remarkable is that her lies were not clever—they’re transparent, easily disproved—and yet they were taken as gospel by the police detective. And, because Detective Bohling’s police report was used on behalf of the defense, Gentile’s lies were later swallowed whole by the judge.
1) Denise Miscavige Gentile lied about being a church advisor—a “chaplain” or “auditor” in Scientology terms—to Scientologist Tom Brennan, Kyle’s biological father (and another of the defendants in the wrongful-death lawsuit). Asked by Detective Bohling if she was Tom Brennan’s church advisor, Gentile answered: “I’m not—I’m not a church advisor. I will tell you, Tom and I were really good friends.” When Bohling continued, stating “I didn’t know if there was something, any truth to the advisor thing,” Gentile stated emphatically, “No.” Denise’s husband, Gerald Gentile, also lied to Detective Bohling about this same important fact. Asked: “[D]o you have any knowledge that—is Denise like a chaplain?” Gerald answered “No.” And yet a document subpoenaed by Ken Dandar from the Church of Scientology—a “Privilege Log” showing Tom Brennan’s “auditing” progress—lists Denise Miscavige Gentile as Brennan’s auditor at the time of Kyle’s death. Amazingly, further information regarding Denise and Tom’s Scientology-based relationship was not forthcoming during the investigation because the defendants claimed that it was covered, under the law, by “priest-penitent privilege.” The “Privilege Log” mentioned above, in fact, refers to the reports withheld as “Private personal confidential communications made by Tom Brennan to his ministers. . . .”
Clearwater policeman Jonathan Yuen, the responding officer the night of Kyle’s death, was very clear on this point. In his report filed on Saturday, February 17, 2007, he noted that, according to Tom Brennan, once he realized that his son Kyle “was unresponsive,” Brennan “immediately called his chaplain, Denise.” (Incidentally, Brennan later denied ever telling the police that Denise Miscavige Gentile was his chaplain, and yet that’s what he told Officer Yuen the night of Kyle’s death. It’s right there in the police report.) Why was it so important for these Scientologists to lie about the easily verifiable fact that Denise Miscavige Gentile was Tom Brennan’s Scientology chaplain, or “auditor”? Why would she repeatedly deny that she had been in a position of authority over Tom Brennan, advising him, telling him—on behalf of the Church of Scientology—what to do? Any reasonable person, too, would be amazed at the defendants’unmitigated gall of first denying this relationship existed, then, when pushed on the issue, claiming that this non-existing liaison was covered by priest-penitent privilege. If they were not guilty of a crime, wouldn’t they be more forthcoming? Wouldn’t they want to vindicate themselves of any wrongdoing in the death of an innocent college kid?
2) Denise Miscavige Gentile lied about going to Tom Brennan’s apartment, where Kyle Brennan died, the night of Kyle’s passing. Asked by Detective Bohling whether she had gone to the apartment with her husband or after her husband—“Jerry” as Bohling referred to him—Denise responded with: “No, I didn’t go to the apartment at all. I—I—no.” Questioning her further on the same point, Bohling asked: “So then as far as you know, Jerry was the only one that went over there. No one else in your household.” Her response? “No.” Husband Gerald Gentile also lied to the police about this when first questioned. In his later deposition, however—forgetting what they had already told the police—Gerald Gentile stated that both he and his wife had indeed gone to Brennan’s apartment. In this version, she waited outside, close to their parked vehicle, because she was wearing pajamas. When Denise was deposed by Attorney Dandar, she stated under oath that while her husband went inside, she stayed outside, in front of the nearby Coachman Building, chain-smoking cigarettes. Why was it so important to lie about Denise’s presence at the Brennan apartment on the evening of Kyle’s death?
3) Denise Miscavige Gentile lied about another event that took place on the evening of February 16-17, the evening Kyle died. According to Tom Brennan, as stated in the police report, he called Gerald Gentile to come to his apartment “for support.” Gerald “Jerry” Gentile arrived—he was actually there prior to the police arrival—and it was from the steps of the apartment that Gentile, upon Brennan’s request, called Kyle’s mother to tell me that my youngest son had died. Gerald Gentile confirmed this in his deposition. Denise, however, presented a very different scenario. As she stated in the Clearwater Police Report (the CWPR), on page 72, Tom Brennan—following the horrific discovery of his only child’s lifeless form—“ came home” with the Gentiles to spend the night. “And then, uh,” continued Denise, “he [Brennan] asked Jerry if he’d call Victoria, which Jerry did. . . .” In her deposition, taken on July 23, 2010—under oath—Denise Miscavige Gentile elaborated even further, adding more details to her completely fictitious scenario. “Got to the house,” said Denise. “I asked if anyone wanted coffee. Went out to the back porch and I believe that’s when Tom asked Jerry, ‘Look, I can’t even dial this phone. Can you-you have to call my ex-wife.’” In her deposition, too, is her claim that “Jerry” identified himself as Tom’s friend when he made the early-morning phone call to me. And that he said his name was “Jerry.” Both of these statements are lies.
Jerry did not tell me that he was Tom’s friend, and he did not identify himself by name. In fact, my husband, Rick Britton, had to ask the previously anonymous caller who he was three times before he finally answered “Jerry.” Gerald Gentile never revealed his full name. Why was it so important to Denise to create this fabricated scene? And why would she lie about what her husband said to me? Could it be that it was deemed necessary—for the purpose of defending themselves against the wrongful-death suit—to “humanize” these normally “robotic” Scientologists?
4) Denise Miscavige Gentile and her co-defendant Tom Brennan had difficulty keeping their stories straight regarding a book Brennan supposedly borrowed from the Gentiles on the evening of February 16. The first mention of book-borrowing appears on page 68 of the Clearwater Police Report. Denise Gentile—Tom Brennan’s auditor—told Detective Bohling that: “Tom had, um, stopped by my house to borrow a book. It was around 11. . . .” When attorney Ken Dandar deposed Brennan and Gentile and pressed them for specific details about the book, however, they quickly became ensnared. Tom Brennan stated that, on his way home from the state fair, he called Denise saying, “Hey, listen, can I pick up that book?” He said he wanted to pick it up, then head home to his apartment. Questioned further about the book, Brennan said, “It was something that interested me. It was something like [a] handyman book. How to—it was something that Jerry had dealt with like electrical work, and I wanted to learn more about how to do it, you know, so it was a good like home improvement book, and I was doing an electrical job that was coming up and I wanted to refresh. . . .” Brennan also stated that he thought the book belonged to Jerry. Denise Miscavige Gentile, in her deposition, however, described a very different book, a Scientology “Book of E-meter drills” that was hers, not Jerry’s. “What’s an E-meter drill book used for?” asked Attorney Dandar. “Well, in the process of selling books at fairs and things,” responded Gentile, “you can do a thing called the pinch test. And it requires that you be able to read the needle on the meter. So he had expressed some uncertainty, and he just wanted to get the drill book and practice.” (According to Christian E. A. F. Schafmeister, “An E-meter is a Wheatstone bridge, an electronic circuit . . . used by the Church of Scientology to tease out what they consider to be essentially useless and dangerous program instructions (they call them ‘Engrams’) in what they call the ‘Reactive mind’, a part of a Scientologist’s brain which has the single purpose of storing and executing such programs. Scientologists believe that once they have yanked out all these ‘Engrams’ that they will develop god-like abilities.” See http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/E-Meter/biophysics.html.)
It’s obvious that both Denise Miscavige Gentile and Tom Brennan lied, and that the whole purpose of the book-borrowing story was to place Brennan at Gentile’s home at 11 p.m., away from his own apartment. This is an extremely important point, because, soon after Kyle’s tragic death, Tom Brennan told step-son Scott Brennan over the phone that he had arrived home that evening at 10:30. The important details regarding the night of February 16-17 changed every time Denise Miscavige Gentile, Tom Brennan, and Gerald Gentile were questioned. Add together Denise’s lies—about being Brennan’s “auditor,” about her presence at Brennan’s apartment, about where the phone call took place, and about the contrived book-borrowing incident—and a very distinctive pattern emerges: Something other than the defendants’ story took place at 423 Cleveland Street, in the Brennan apartment. Copyright © 2021 by Victoria L. Britton
Pinellas County, Sheriff’s Office booking image of Denise Gentile, twin sister of Scientology leader David Miscavige- January 22, 2013.
In the Clearwater Police Report regarding my son Kyle’s death, Officer Jonathan Yuen’s one-page narrative of the events of February 16/17 is remarkable for its inattention to detail. Later, when Yuen was deposed by attorney Ken Dandar—the lawyer representing the Estate of Kyle Brennan—his brain fog surrounding the details of that evening is incredibly suspicious.
In his contribution to the Clearwater Police Report, Yuen omitted the fact that present at Tom Brennan’s Cleveland Street apartment the evening of Kyle’s death were two important members of Scientology’s first family—the twin-sister and brother-in-law of the church’s worldwide leader, David Miscavige. During Officer Yuen’s brief deposition, taken in July of 2010, he responded 28 times with either “I don’t recall” or “I don’t remember.” And it’s interesting that Officer Yuen’s memory deficit only occurred when he was questioned regarding fellow police officers, medical investigator Martha J. Scholl, or the presence of that mysterious “couple” who arrived at the crime scene during his “short-short” interview of Tom Brennan.
And amazingly, Yuen destroyed the notes he took during that interview.
Denise Miscavige Gentile, David Miscavige’s twin-sister—whom Tom Brennan referred to as “Chaplain Denise”—was Brennan’s Scientology auditor, his spiritual advisor or spiritual counselor. Her husband’s name is Gerald “Jerry” Gentile. In spite of the fact that they both at first lied about Denise being at the Cleveland Street apartment that night, during their depositions, Denise and Jerry finally admitted that they were both there. Jerry Gentile stated that Denise waited outside near their parked vehicle. Denise claimed she didn’t go inside because she was wearing pajamas and chain-smoking cigarettes outside of the Coachman building.
Amazingly, Yuen left them completely out of his narrative. When questioned later, under oath, about people arriving at the crime scene, Yuen responded: “I believe I advised a couple of people showed up.”
In the first few months following my son’s death, it was believed that Gerald Gentile was Tom Brennan’s roommate at the Cleveland Street apartment. This was assumed as it seemed the logical explanation for Jerry Gentile’s early presence at Brennan’s place the night Kyle died. Information pertaining to Gentile’s early appearance at the Cleveland Street apartment was omitted from the police report. No information regarding Jerry, in fact, was provided by the Clearwater Police Department, either in the police report or in the first phone interview Kyle’s Virginia family had with Detective Stephen Bohling (who took over the case on Saturday, February17). Kyle’s older brother—wondering who the elusive “Jerry” was who called our home to tell us of Kyle’s death—asked Bohling about him. (Some of our questions, naturally, were things like: Why didn’t Tom Brennan call us? Why didn’t the police make this important call?) Bohling’s response to the question about Jerry’s identity? “Some Scientology guy.”
Denise Miscavige Gentile was simply referred to as “Chaplain Denise.”
Why were these two members of the Clearwater Police Department—Officer Jonathan Yuen and Detective Stephen Bohling—not forthcoming or truthful about the presence of the Gentiles at the Cleveland Street apartment that night? Why would they not identify these high-powered Scientologists? Were these members of the police department deliberately lying by omission in order to protect two individuals with extremely close ties to the very top leadership of the Scientology organization?
What about these two members of Scientology’s first family—Denise Miscavige Gentile and her husband Jerry?
According to a Tampa Bay Times article written in the summer of 2013, the couple married in 2000. They lived in Maryland for two years, then moved back to Clearwater “where Flag Land Base, Scientology’s spiritual headquarters, dominates the downtown skyline.” It was then that Jerry joined the church. Denise at the time was working at a small Scientology mission in Bellair. He continued working his Maryland technology job, commuting back and forth every week.
That tech position, however, wasn’t Jerry and Denise’s only source of income. A police investigation revealed that Jerry Gentile was the owner of a notorious drug-selling establishment—or “drug house”—located in St. Petersburg, Florida. It comprised a house on 15th Street North, and three detached apartments next door in a duplex and a separate cottage.
According to the article, “drug sales at the Gentile property got so bad police raided it twice in 14 months, busting up a marijuana den and what police called a cocaine sales operation.” Following the first raid, the city contacted the Gentiles asking them to “curb the drug activity.” Nothing changed. In fact, it appears the Gentiles had good reason not to improve the situation at their St. Petersburg pot house. According to tenants, it was Denise who’d stop by monthly for the rent or for money to cover the water, sewer, and trash bills. If cash wasn’t readily available—according to former tenant Roreco “Rico” Currie—Denise was happy to accept marijuana “blunts” instead. (Blunts are small cigars converted into fairly large marijuana cigarettes.) Currie, during this period, was distributing marijuana from the Gentile property. Denise had discovered this illicit activity but had decided to let Currie remain.
If that wasn’t enough, Currie eventually converted the cottage into an impromptu strip-club. Exotic dancers performed routines as onlookers tossed money onto the dingy floors. Admission was $10, more after midnight. Currie proudly claimed this business was “by appointment only.” He was arrested in October 2012 on several charges. He pleaded guilty and is currently serving a 38-month sentence. Denise Miscavige Gentile pleaded not guilty to the charges related to the activities at the Gentiles’ 15th Street North property. She denies receiving drugs in lieu of rent or bills.
The Tampa Bay Times piece is an extremely unflattering portrait of this Scientology celebrity couple. Obviously, in the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater area, the rule of law simply does not apply to Denise Miscavige and Jerry Gentile.
These are the people the Clearwater Police Department shielded, it appears, in order to protect the Miscavige name from scandal.
The Gentiles’ involvement with Tom Brennan should have raised numerous questions. Why, for example, weren’t they pressed about the obvious lies they told regarding Tom Brennan and the night of February 16/17? Denise at first lied about being Tom Brennan’s auditor; she lied about her relationship with Brennan, and she lied about her presence at the Brennan apartment. Jerry, too, at first lied about his wife’s presence that evening. Particularly troubling as well as the fact that my son’s laptop computer supposedly ended up in the hands of Jerry Gentile. Why wasn’t Kyle’s computer taken into custody by the police?
My son Kyle deserved to have a fair and unbiased investigation. He deserved to have his day in court. Thanks to the defendants’ multitudinous lies—and thanks to the police report’s lies of omission—he got neither.
Copyright © 2020 by Victoria L. Britton
Denise Miscavige Gentile: Clearwater Police Report
Copy of Scientology Privilege Log
Excerpt from the Deposition of Tom Brennan
Jerry Gentile excerpt from the Clearwater Police Report
Excerpt from the Deposition of Tom Brennan
Excerpt from the Deposition of Denise Miscavige Gentile: The book alibi
Excerpt from the Deposition of Tom Brennan: The book alibi
Excerpt from the Clearwater Police Report: Denise Miscavige Gentile Interview
Clearwater Police Interview: Gerald Gentile.
Denise Miscavige Gentile: phone call
Excerpt from the Clearwater Police Report Narrative: Gerald Gentile Interview.
Excerpt from the Deposition of Victoria Britton.
The 911 call from Brennan’s apartment went out at 12:10. What were these three individuals doing in Brennan’s apartment prior to Brennan finally calling 911? And, why did Denise Gentile—Brennan’s Scientology adviser–initially lie about going to the apartment that night?
The Narratives above are all Copyright 2021 Victoria Britton. The documents posted below the narrative are in the public domain.