Photograph from Denise Miscavige’s recorded deposition.
Denise Miscavige Gentile; Scientology, Lies, and Alibis –
In a June 1952 lecture entitled “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 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 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 on 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 Attorney Dandar deposed Denise, 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 occurred 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 before 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. 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—to defend 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.” Seehttp://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/E-Meter/biophysics.html.)
It’s obvious that 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 apartment. This is an extremely important point, because, soon after Kyle’s tragic death, Tom Brennan told stepson 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.
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?
Gerald & Denise Miscavige Gentile, “The Pajama Game”
Gerald Gentile, in an attempt to keep his wife away from the Brennan apartment—the crime scene—on the evening Kyle died, stated that his wife did not go near the apartment. Instead, said Gentile, she waited outside near their parked vehicle because she was in her pajamas.
This, of course, contradicts the early statements made to Detective Stephen Bohling by the Gentiles. In those interviews, according to this upstanding Scientology couple, Denise stayed home, and only Gerald went to the Brennan apartment.
Gerald Gentile’s feeble attempt at helping his wife distance herself from the apartment backfired when Denise was deposed. In her deposition, she stated under oath that she was walking in front of the Coachman Building, chain-smoking cigarettes while conversing with people.
The sight of middle-aged Denise Miscavige Gentile—the sister of Scientology leader David Miscavige—walking around in her pajamas on a cold, damp night in downtown Clearwater would most certainly have been memorable.
Unfortunately, however, it wasn’t memorable enough for Clearwater Police Officer Jonathan Yuen, one of the first officers on the scene, a public servant who’s duty-bound to remember and record details. During his deposition, Yuen stated that a “couple” showed up at the Brennan apartment during his 10-to-20-minute investigation of Kyle’s death. Still, when pressed for details, he was unable to recall any specifics.
Note: The Narratives above are all Copyright 2023 Victoria Britton.