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
Excerpts from the Deposition of Denise Miscavige Gentile
Excerpt from the Deposition of Victoria Britton
Denise Miscavige Defines a Potential Trouble Source
“Fool me Twice” Shame on the Justice System
When the Tampa-based federal judge presiding over the wrongful-death lawsuit—Stephen Merryday for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida—ruled in favor of the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, he noted the following: “Assuming that Kyle’s father [Tom Brennan] and the others [Gerald and Denise Miscavige Gentile] are liars, Scientology’s responsibility is possible, but this theoretical and remote possibility is unsupported by evidence or any reasonable and direct inference from the evidence. If the witnesses are ignored in gross as liars, the fact finder is left to guess. Attenuated and compound inferences and speculation uniformly fail to create a genuine issue of material fact sufficient to avoid summary judgment.”
Obviously, we strongly disagree.
Not only did the defendants in the case lie, but the Clearwater, Florida, detective investigating Kyle’s suspicious death—Stephen Bohling—lied in his police report. Both of these assertions are easily verified with testimony and documentation.
Did these individuals commit perjury (a felony in the State of Florida)? According to The Law Dictionary, available online: In criminal law, perjury is “The willful assertion as to a matter of fact, opinion, belief, or knowledge, made by a witness in a judicial proceeding as part of his evidence, either upon oath or in any form allowed by law to be substituted for an oath, whether such evidence is given in open court, or in an affidavit, or otherwise, such assertion being known to such witness to be false, and being intended by him to mislead the court, jury, or person holding the proceeding.
(See The Law Dictionary [at http://thelawdictionary.org/perjury/#ixzz2qURWg1aC%5D, featuring Black’s Law Dictionary.)
Obviously, if a witness deliberately chooses to lie, twisting the testimony in one way or the other, the false testimony may bring about a very skewed outcome in a case.
It’s been shown that Detective Stephen Bohling deliberately lied in his Clearwater Police Report (the CWPR). This has been supported by documents and testimony. His investigation is replete with conflicts of interest and mishandled standard investigative procedures. By twisting statements made by others—in other words, assigning the lies to others such as Marti Scholl of the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office, or FDLE Agent Barbara Mendez, or Kyle’s psychiatrist Stephen McNamara—he may have believed that he could wheedle his way out of perjury charges. Perhaps he thought he could turn the entire situation into a “he said, she said” scenario.
Unfortunately, all of this illegal behavior had a direct impact on the outcome of the wrongful-death lawsuit.
On May 29, 2009, Lee Fugate—the attorney representing Gerald and Denise Miscavige Gentile—attached Bohling’s CWPR to his “Motion to Dismiss Complaint.”
On June 11, 2009, Attorney Kennan Dandar—the attorney representing the Estate of Kyle Brennan—filed a motion to strike the report.
On June 24, 2009, Judge Stephen Merryday granted the Estate of Kyle Brennan the motion to strike the police report.
Did this stop the defendants from using the content of the police report? Absolutely not!
Excerpt from the deposition of detective Stephen Bohling
Statement of Mark C. “Marty” Rathbun, former senior executive of the Church of Scientology.
Recorded exchange between Attorney Lee Fugate and Detective Steve Bohling.
Note: The Narratives above are all Copyright 2014 Victoria Britton. The documents posted below each narrative are in the public domain.
In 2007 my forward-looking 20-year-old son, Kyle Brennan, died in Clearwater, Florida, under extremely suspicious circumstances while visiting his Scientologist father. (Clearwater, of course, is the site of Scientology’s headquarters.) We lost the subsequent wrongful-death lawsuit we filed against Kyle’s father, prominent Scientologists who were involved, and the Church of Scientology itself. Because of the legal expenses incurred, we’ve yet to purchase a proper headstone for our beloved son. Will you help us?
If you have any questions contact Victoria at: vbreton2062 (at) aol.com.