Adding to Scientology’s woes, a new wrongful death lawsuit has been filed over the suicide of Kyle Brennan, a young man who was allegedly forced off of his psychiatric drugs by David Miscavige’s sister and her husband. The St. Petersberg Times has a cover story today.
A mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, its Flag Service Organization and three parishioners, claiming they brought about her son’s death by denying him access to his antidepression medication.
Among the three parishioners named as defendants: Denise Gentile, the twin sister of the church’s current worldwide leader, David Miscavige, as well as her husband, Gerald Gentile.
The lawsuit stems from the death of Kyle T. Brennan, 20, who shot himself in the head on Feb. 16, 2007, in Clearwater, while visiting his father, who is a Scientologist.
Police determined the death was a suicide, but Victoria Britton, the young man’s mother, said Scientologists are responsible.
Filed in Tampa federal court Friday, the lawsuit claims Gentile and her husband persuaded Kyle Brennan’s father to take away his Lexapro, which his son was taking for depression and anxiety.
The suit, which also names Thomas Brennan as a defendant, states that the defendants tried to put Kyle Brennan into a Narconon drug treatment program.
The suit is being handled by Ken Dandar who was the attorney in the Lisa McPherson civil case. Church spokesman Tommy Davis coughs up the same tired excuses for Scientology’s non-involvement in the case.
Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis said the lawsuit is an attempt to “draw the church into something that we don’t have anything to do with.”
None of the Scientologists named as defendants were church staff members, he said. They were all just parishioners. And Davis emphasized that the events took place on private property without church involvement.
Even Narconon, the drug treatment program that uses L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings, is a separate entity from the Church of Scientology, he said.
Still, the case draws attention to Scientology’s opposition to psychiatric drugs like Lexapro, which it deems to be mind-altering.
The Web site for Lexapro warns users not to go off their medication suddenly, even if they are feeling better. Changes in dosage, it says, can cause patients on antidepressants to worsen their depression, show signs of mood changes and exhibit thoughts of suicide.
As Dandar put it to the Times, ”They locked up his medicine, but not the loaded .357 Magnum.”