Scott Pilutik

I am an attorney and consultant living and working in Manhattan, focusing primarily on church/state constitutional law. I'm a recognized expert on the Church of Scientology organization. I also have strong interests in intellectual property law where it intersects with emerging media, and free speech.

I support the efforts of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU, Creative Commons, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I am a member of the New York County Lawyers Association and the New York State Bar Association. I also enjoy (watching) hockey and (doing) photograhy.

Online I can be found on Facebook, Twitter. My resume can be viewed here. I can be reached by phone at 212.645.6241 or by e-mail at pilutik[at]gmail.com.

Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Scientology by the Estate of Kyle Brennan

On February 6, 2007, Kyle Brennan, a disabled adult, left his Virginia home to visit his Scientologist father in Clearwater Florida. Eleven days later, he was dead. Three Scientologists, Denise Miscavige Gentile (twin sister of Scientology head David Miscavige), her husband Gerald Gentile, Thomas Brennan (Kyle’s father), and the Church of Scientology’s Flag Service Organization, now face a wrongful death suit brought by Brennan’s mother.

The complaint [PDF], filed by Florida attorney Kennan Dandar, who was the lawyer for estate of Lisa McPherson (in the interest of full disclosure, I briefly worked for Ken Dandar on the Lisa McPherson case), alleges that Brennan was taking Lexapro for depression and social anxiety, prescribed by his Virginia psychiatrist, at the time of the Florida visit. When Denise Miscavige Gentile discovered that Kyle was taking Lexapro, she, in her capacity as “Scientology Chaplain” (see Scientology’s site here) and her husband Gerald Gentile allegedly advised Thomas Brennan to take Kyle’s Lexapro away, which the complaint alleges he did by locking the prescription medication in the trunk of his car.

The complaint then alleges that three individual defendants, and later a Narconon official, called Kyle’s mother to request her permission to allow Kyle to be placed in Scientology’s anti-drug program Narconon, persuading her that Kyle would not need Lexapro if he were enrolled. Kyle’s mother claims to not only have refused this request, but that she told them to make sure that Kyle continued to take his Lexapro.

The complaint then alleges that on February 16, 2007 (10 days after arriving and two years ago today) a loaded .357 magnum was placed “on or next to” the bed in the room Kyle stayed within father’s apartment, and was later found dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

As this is a potentially lethal legal threat to Scientology, it will fight this hard, likely taking the familiar tacts of delay, creative motion practice, and hardball, where all else fails. I’ll follow this closely and update as details dictate.

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