“Truth, Justice, and the American Way”
“Truth” is much more than an American catchword—an ideal that all of us are supposedly striving for. It’s a living, breathing reality, a necessary virtue that helps keep society and communities safe, strong, and cohesive. Without it, we lose direction and our society becomes dysfunctional, chaotic. Blatant lying and perjury by those we’ve placed in positions of power—the police, federal officials, members of the judiciary, etc.—should never be tolerated.
Here’s an example that’s greatly affected, my family:
When Steven D. Merryday—the Tampa-based federal judge presiding over my wrongful-death lawsuit—ruled in favor of the defendants’ motion for summary judgment (in effect throwing my case out of court), 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 evidence.”
Readers of Kyle’s blog have frequently asked me the following questions: Was the documentation and evidence that I’m now revealing to the public via the blog made available to Judge Merryday? How could he rule in favor of the defendants when he was presented with sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact? (The answer to the first question, by the way, is a resounding “yes!” The second question is one Kyle’s family would like to ask the Honorable Steven D. Merryday.)
That cold December day in 2012 when Judge Merryday gave the defendants a “free pass” I will never forget. It’s seared into my soul as my son’s second killing. I remember it, too, as the day I learned that the truth didn’t matter in Merryday’s courtroom. No one, it seemed, would be held accountable for Kyle Brennan’s death.
Any lie under oath is serious. The truth is what drives our judicial system. If people do not come forward and tell the truth, we have no hope of making the judicial system work. If someone knowingly lies under oath during an investigation it’s every prosecutor’s duty to dig deeper. The only way to preserve public trust is to respond by investigating further.
The defendants lied during the primary investigation and committed perjury while under oath. Not only did the defendants break the law, but Stephen Bohling—the Clearwater, Florida, detective who “investigated” Kyle’s suspicious death—lied in his police report, falsified documents, obstructed justice, and committed perjury. This type of behavior by a public official, someone we expect to be truthful, should be dealt with severely. When a police officer lies lives are ruined, justice is not served. In criminal cases, the guilty go free while the innocent suffer.
Perhaps Judge Merryday—to gain a better understanding of the Scientology defendants—should have familiarized himself first with some of Scientology’s basic tenets. Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, in a 1952 lecture entitled “Off the Track Time,” 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 the Journal of Scientology issue 18-G, reprinted in Technical Volumes of Dianetics & Scientology, Vol. 1, pg. 418.)
Why have none of these people been held accountable? All of their illegal behavior had a direct impact on the outcome of the wrongful-death lawsuit.
Even now, eleven years later, the lies told by the police and the Scientology defendants are still clinging to Kyle’s story. Public awareness of what happened to my son is seemingly being stifled because my original lawsuit failed. According to the inimitable Mark Twain (who, of course, had no idea how true his words would become in the digital age): “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” The biggest question doesn’t involve the merits of the case but rather why Judge Merryday chose to dismiss it.
In the end, all of this—the lies, the mishandling of information, the obstruction of justice—came at the expense of a twenty-year-old college student whose existence to the corrupt powers-that-be in Clearwater, Florida, was absolutely meaningless.
Copyright © 2021 by Victoria L. Britton
If you have any questions contact Victoria at vbreton2062 (at) gmail.com.
Denise Miscavige Gentile
Detective Jon Yuen
Luke Lirot Email-Conversation with Detective Stephen Bohling
Detective Steve Bohling-Clearwater Police Report Narrative
Stephen McNamara MD
(Not to be copied or distributed without written permission from Victoria Britton).