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Sister of Scientology head spared drug, DUI conviction

July 9, 2013 at 3:52 PM

LARGO, Fla., July 9 (UPI) -- A sister of the head of the Church of Scientology has pleaded guilty to reckless driving in Florida in a deal that spares her a drug or alcohol conviction.

Denise Gentile, a sister of David Miscavige, chairman of the church's Board of Religious Technology Center, did not appear at Monday's hearing in Pinellas County, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The plea bargain calls for her to undergo an alcohol evaluation, attend classes for drunk drivers, pay $800 in court costs and meet with victims of drunk driving.

Gentile, 53, of Clearwater was arrested in January after St. Petersburg police pulled her over for a traffic violation. Officers said they found several marijuana cigars in her vehicle and said she was under the influence of alcohol.

The Times said its own investigation found former tenants who said a St. Petersburg building Gentile and her husband own is known for heavy drug use. One tenant said Gentile sometimes accepted "blunts" as payment or bought them at the house.

The building was raided by police in 2011 and 2012 with officers seizing drugs and guns.

Gentile is Miscavige's twin sister. Their parents converted to Scientology in the 1970s and Miscavige quickly rose to the highest levels of the church.

Gentile has reached a high level in the church, which requires its members to to ascend through levels of spiritual awareness. In 2010, she said in a deposition that Scientologists must "disconnect" from anyone involved in drugs.

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