Systems of power self-protect
The simple truth about lies is that there are many different types. Some, such as bald-faced lies, are so outrageous that they’re obvious to all within earshot. Another category comprises lies that are not so obvious—they lie hidden among the reams of information we ingest daily. But though these lies are obscured from sight, they’re no less pernicious. These are lies of omission—lies that represent an intentional failure to “tell the whole truth” in a situation requiring complete disclosure. Lying by omission is particularly destructive, of course, in legal and criminal matters.
Are the members of the Clearwater, Florida, Police Department guilty of lying by omission? You be the judge.
Clearwater policeman Jonathan Yuen was one of the first officers on the scene the night my son Kyle died under very suspicious circumstances at the apartment of his biological father, Tom Brennan, on Friday, February 16, 2007. At the time, Officer Yuen had been with the department for only eighteen months. He’d been hired right out of college. Despite this fact, however—and despite the fact that higher-ranking officers were present at the time—Yuen was placed in charge of the crime scene.
Normally, one would expect a rookie cop to follow police procedures by the manual. One would expect a young officer to try really hard, to be attentive to every last detail. In reading other Clearwater Police Reports, for example, you’ll find an amazing amount of detail. Crime scene details are extremely important. Even the tiniest bit of information, of course, can be the determining factor in a criminal investigation. People have been convicted because of tiny details. And, of course, people have walked away from criminal acts because of the lack of a tiny detail.
In the Clearwater Police Report regarding my son’s death, Officer 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.
First the big lie of omission. 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.
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.
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.”
“What did they do?” asked attorney Dandar.
“Basically spoke with Thomas [Brennan] and gave him some counseling or, you know, support.”
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. In the early stages of the investigation, we were told by the detective that Gerald Gentile was in the apartment with Brennan before the police and the EMTs arrived. We believe that the earliest accounts of what happened that evening are the most accurate and truthful. The pertinent and detailed information regarding Jerry’s early arrival was omitted from the Clearwater report.
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, then, was Scott Brennan confused? Why did he think that “Jerry” was Brennan’s roommate? Because in the early stages of the investigation we were told by the detective that Gerald Gentile was in the apartment with Brennan before the police and the EMTs arrived. We believe that the earliest accounts of what happened that evening are the most accurate and truthful. Scott was confused, therefore—as was everyone in Kyle’s family—because we didn’t know who this “Jerry” was. And, more importantly, we didn’t understand what he was doing in the apartment with Tom Brennan before the police and the EMTs got there.
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?
Attorney Ken Dandar deposed Officer Yuen on June 11, 2010. Yuen’s deposition lasted just over one hour.
Officer Yuen stated during his deposition that he left the crime scene in the early morning hours of February 17, and had no further involvement in the investigation.
Then he was asked: “Did you ever discuss the matter with Detective Bohling? Did he ever contact you?”
“No” responded Yuen.
(It’s important to note here that Detective Bohling never visited the crime scene. Never. So, in other words, Officer Yuen was in charge at the Cleveland Street apartment the night Kyle died—even though other officers present outranked him—and wrote the narrative of that night’s events. He then simply handed that in, and never again spoke of the matter with the police detective who took over the case. And that man—Detective Stephen Bohling—never went to the Cleveland Street apartment. Why the disconnect between Yuen and Detective Bohling? Was it done this way in order to ensure Bohling’s future plausible deniability?)
During Officer Yuen’s brief deposition, 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.
Ken Dander asked him: “Did you take notes during the interview [of Tom Brennan]?”
“Yes, I did” responded Yuen.
“What do you take the notes on?” was the next question.
“I have a note pad that normally I document all my cases on,” was the answer.
“Do you save those?”
“No, I do not.”
Unfortunately, Officer Yuen, a college graduate, doesn’t really understand what the verb tense “to document” means.
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 a 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 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.
Excerpts from the Deposition of Officer Jonathan Yuen
Excerpts from the Deposition of S. Brennan
Officer Jonathan Yuen’s Clearwater Police Report Narrative
A sample of the narrative and abundance of detail within a Clearwater Police Report. When reading the report the negligence of the Clearwater police on the scene the evening Kyle died becomes glaringly obvious.
This is the HTML version of the file http://www.artharris.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/nick-bollea-clearwater-police-report1.pdf.
Kyle Brennan, 1986-2007
When a child dies unexpectedly and violently the impact on the family is one of complete devastation. Anguish and despair become your close companions. It’s a heartbreak like no other.
After losing my son Kyle, I felt—along with my overwhelming grief—a powerful urgency to make sense of the senseless, to understand what had happened and how the tragedy in Clearwater, Florida, had unfolded. That urgency—that need—has not subsided. There are numerous questions that still need to be answered.
In the weeks and months after Kyle’s passing, something completely unexpected made the pain immeasurably worse—the incomprehensible treatment I received at the hands of Detective Stephen Bohling of the Clearwater Police Department (the CWPD). Losing a twenty-year-old son is horrific enough. Bohling’s unconscionable handling of the investigation into Kyle’s death, however—his deceitful behavior and his immoral actions—not only sullied Kyle’s image but also devastated Kyle’s family and ultimately obstructed justice in the wrongful-death lawsuit that ensued.
According to the CWPD, Kyle’s death was reported to the department at 12:10 a.m. on Saturday, February 17, 2007. Detective Bohling took over the investigation sixteen hours later. It’s important to note that Bohling never visited the crime scene to garner further evidence. Instead, he relied on the meager evidence gathered by the responding officer, Jonathan Yuen. Yuen was working the midnight shift when he responded to the 12:10 a.m. 911 call placed by Kyle’s biological father, Tom Brennan. Officer Yuen later admitted that he only spent a maximum of 20 minutes interviewing Brennan—a very short period of time considering the fact that he was collecting information regarding a suspicious death. He later stated that—contrary to proper police procedure—he destroyed the notes he had taken that night.
As can be imagined, the subsequent Clearwater Police Report (or CWPR) written by Detective Bohling is filled with misinformation, half-truths, and outright fabrications. Some of these fabrications are completely fictionalized conversations—conversations that never occurred. And a great number of these lies are miss-paraphrased statements. By misrepresenting statements made by individuals questioned during his shoddy investigation—by assigning fabrications to others—Bohling twisted the truth into a mass of lies that obstructed justice and protected a number of parties who should have been questioned further.
The unscrupulous detective took this illegal behavior to an unprecedented level when he paraphrased me, Kyle’s mother, into saying things about my son that I never said. These deceptions executed at the hands of a police detective—a public defender who’s supposed to be seeking the truth—piled additional grief and suffering onto Kyle’s family. The aftermath is deeply disturbing.
As an example, on page 15 of the Clearwater Police Report (or CWPR), Bohling took liberties when describing the telephone conversation I had had with an FBI agent. (In January of 2007, while Kyle was traveling the country, FBI Special Agent Jeff Atwood called to tell me that Kyle had visited his Des Moines, Iowa, office. According to Atwood, Kyle came in to report a crime—a crime that could not be substantiated. Agent Atwood expressed concern for Kyle, saying that he looked good, was well-mannered and well-spoken and that he could tell Kyle came from a good home. When he saw that my son was traveling with valuable items—expensive electronics, and gold and silver coins—as well as a large sum of cash, Atwood became concerned for his welfare. When Kyle said he was going to stay at a shelter to save money, the detective recommended a hotel because it would be safer. Atwood told me that Kyle seemed to be suffering from mild paranoia, but that it was a good thing in this case as it would keep Kyle away from those who might harm him. Agent Atwood said he got my phone number by asking Kyle who he should call if something happened to him.)
The falsified CWPR information appears in the form of a March 5, 2007, telephone conversation between Bohling and Detective Carl Brown of the Albemarle County (Virginia) Police Department, and an e-mail supposed sent from Brown to Bohling. (Detective Brown first made contact with Kyle’s family soon after the missing person report was filed. He later helped locate Kyle when he was in Maui, Hawaii.) Here Bohling claimed that I had been advised by Agent Atwood that Kyle said: “he was being followed by people who were after him.” According to Bohling, Atwood said that Kyle “appeared as if he had not been eating, was emaciated and appeared to be having delusions.” (These are statements Bohling claimed I made to Officer Brown regarding my discussion with Atwood, and that Brown passed along to Bohling.) Perhaps not surprisingly, Detective Bohling never asked me for information or details pertaining to my conversation with Atwood.
Here’s the truth: I never stated that Agent Atwood told me Kyle entered his office saying that “he was being followed by people who were after him.” Agent Atwood never said Kyle looked as if he had not been eating and appeared to be having delusions. All of this information referring to my conversation with Atwood is false. Why would a police detective falsify information like this?
Bohling’s police report becomes even more twisted when one reads the e-mails attributed to Detective Brown at the bottom of page 15. (And it should be noted here—as was discovered by attorney Ken Dandar during Bohling’s deposition—that the very appearance of these e-mails is extremely suspicious. For, rather than digitally copying these supposed emails into his report, Detective Bohling printed them onto paper then physically cut the paper and pasted them into his narrative. Was Bohling as computer illiterate as Tom Brennan, or were these emails fabricated out of whole cloth?)
According to Bohling, these e-mails stated I had met with Detective Brown on a certain date, and that at that meeting I stated to Brown that Kyle had been diagnosed with “depression and periods of delusion and paranoia.” I supposedly also said that I was told by police—after reporting Kyle’s departure from home—that “there would have to be more information regarding Kyle’s condition to enter him into NCIC as endangered.” (“NCIC” is the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, a reporting database that can also be used to help find missing persons.)
Here’s the truth: I never met with Detective Brown during the time period noted in Bohling’s falsified email. The first time I met with the Albemarle County detective to discuss the death of my son was two years after he had passed. Kyle’s psychiatrist, Dr. Stephen McNamara, never diagnosed him as delusional and paranoid. Detective Bohling—or possibly Hillsborough County, Florida, Medical Investigator Marti Scholl—fabricated this diagnosis. This statement is a lie.
The statement referring to the reason I could not file a missing person’s report immediately after Kyle left home is also a lie. (On the day Kyle left home I called the Albemarle Police Department to file a missing person’s report. I had been worried about Kyle since his return from a tumultuous visit with his father, Scientologist Tom Brennan, in September of that year.)
Here’s the truth, here’s the real reason a missing person’s report could not be filed. Kyle was an adult who left home on his own fruition. According to law, you cannot file a missing person’s report unless foul play is suspected or the missing individual is declared—by a physician or court of law—to be a danger to themselves or to others.
I told the Albemarle County officer that I was worried about Kyle, that he’d lived a sheltered life and had in his possession thousands of dollars in cash, gold, and silver. I did not know where Kyle was so I pleaded with the officer: Could they please help me find him? The officer sympathized but said that because of the law he could not write a report. When I told him that Kyle was taking medication, he told me to look to see if Kyle had taken it with him—he had. When he asked how much he had taken, I stated more than one prescription worth.
The laws regarding missing persons reports, therefore, are what initially prevented me from filing one, not the lack of information. I knew this, Detective Brown knew this, and what’s more important: Brown would have never lied like this to Bohling. Bohling’s statement regarding the NCIC, therefore, is a lie.
Why would Bohling misrepresent the truth in his report? Could it be that the profile of Kyle fictionalized by Detective Bohling—a profile of a troubled young man suffering from delusions and paranoia—better fit the image of someone likely to commit suicide, someone whose tragic death was entirely his own fault?
It is absolutely certain that the truth would not have benefitted the defendants in the wrongful-death lawsuit—Scientologists Tom Brennan, and Gerald and Denise Miscavige Gentile. On February 17, 2009—two years after Kyle’s death—the Clearwater Police Department released the report regarding Bohling’s investigation, one day after the wrongful-death lawsuit was filed and the news had made the front page of the St. Petersburg Times. When the defendants answered the wrongful-death complaint, their lawyer, Lee Fugate, attached Bohling’s police report to their response.
Excerpt from the Deposition of Dr. Stephen McNamara
Clearwater Police Report, Pasted email
Deposition of Detective Bohling
Excerpt from the Clearwater Police Report
Note: The Narratives above are all Copyright@2020 Victoria Britton. The documents posted below are in the public domain.
Kyle’s Bank Statement
Kyle’s Last Phone Calls
Scientology “SEC Check”
Excerpt from the Deposition of Tom Brennan
Excerpt from the Deposition of Victoria Britton
If you have any questions contact Victoria at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(For more information regarding the highly questionable events surrounding Kyle’s death, the extremely mishandled police investigation, and the perjured testimony given by the defendants please refer to “The Truth for Kyle Brennan” blog at vbreton2062.wordpress.com.)