Suit claims man was denied access to the antidepressant
CLEARWATER — Police investigated the role Scientology played in the suicide of a troubled young man two years ago, but did not conclude church members forced him off his antidepressant medication or contributed to his death.
Last week, the mother of Kyle Brennan filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Scientology’s Clearwater-based Flag Service Organization and three Scientologists, claiming they took away Brennan’s medication. The suit names the boy’s father, Thomas Brennan, as a defendant; along with Denise Gentile, who is the twin sister of the church’s worldwide leader, David Miscavige; and her husband, Gerald.
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Clearwater police on Tuesday released more than 200 pages of documents from the investigation of Brennan’s death. The reports don’t provide evidence of a key claim in the lawsuit: that Brennan was denied access to the antidepressant Lexapro.
Police instead learned that Brennan wasn’t taking the medication regularly. The only Lexapro pills police found were in a 30-pill bottle issued to him almost three months earlier. Sixteen pills remained.
The mother’s attorney, Ken Dandar, said Kyle was taking the medication as needed.
The young man’s own psychiatrist told police the prescription would have to be carried out on a regular basis. He was not aware of any “major side effects” from suddenly withdrawing from the medication. The drug’s Web site states that quickly coming off the drug can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts.
Scientologists do not approve of psychiatric medication because they believe it to be mind-altering.
The lawsuit claims that Thomas Brennan took away the medication from his son at the behest of Denise Gentile. It also alleges that one or more of the defendants provided Kyle access to a loaded .357 Magnum.
Thomas Brennan told police he didn’t approve of psychiatric medication because it clashed with his religious beliefs. But he said Kyle agreed to go off the medication because he didn’t like taking it either — a claim that Kyle’s mother and her attorney reject.