By Joe Dwinell
A close friend of Boston lead singer Brad Delp is slamming a Boston Globe story covering band founder Tom Scholz's allegation that the reason that Delp took his life in March 2007 was because he was ashamed at having placed a hidden camera in her bedroom.
Meg Sullivan issued a statement that the Globe ignored evidence in court records that Delp had already told his fiancee about the incident, for which she had forgiven him, evidence that he was already actively planning to take his life before that incident, and the testimony of friends that Delp's mental state had been worn down just before his suicide by his fear of Scholz and his desire to get out of the band before an upcoming tour.
The Globe's Sunday story followed Herald reporting on the testimony of about 20 of Brad's closest friends during the pretrial phase of the defamation lawsuit that Scholz filed against the Herald. According to their testimony, Delp told them in the weeks before he took his life that Scholz was a "bully" who made Delp feel like "an abused dog," and that he desperately wanted to sever his relationship with Scholz but was afraid that if he did Scholz would sue him.
According to court documents, Delp told his closest friends in January and February 2007 that he desperately wanted to get out of the band and to avoid an upcoming Boston tour that Scholz had scheduled. Court documents indicate that Delp took his life 10 days after Scholz informed him that the tour had been confirmed, approximately 36 hours after Scholz's tour manager contacted him to discuss tour arrangements, and shortly before rehearsals for the upcoming tour were to begin.
The Globe article reported on Scholz's allegation that Delp took his life because of the camera incident between Delp and Meg Sullivan, on Feb. 28, 2007, an incident which, according to court records, Delp discussed with his fiancee, and which his fiancee told him she understood as a manifestation of the mental state in which he was in and for which she forgave him.
The Globe reported that Meg Sullivan would not respond to its request for a comment. However, in a statement to the Herald, Meg Sullivan blasted both Scholz and the Globe's reporting on Scholz's allegations, citing Scholz's changing positions on the cause of Delp's decision to take his life, and linking Scholz's conduct in this case with Globe coverage.
"In the years that followed Brad's death," Meg Sullivan wrote in her statement, "it has seemed that Tom Scholz has desperately tried to find someone to blame for Brad's decision to take his life. First, his lawyers pointed a finger at Brad's fiancee, my sister. Then, when it was clear that that wasn't true, Scholz's representatives switched accusations and have now taken to alleging that Brad took his life because of an incident that happened between Brad and me."
"The article printed recently in the Boston Globe seems to imply that Brad took his life because he was so horrified at the idea of confessing to my sister what he had done. The article neglects to print the fact that Brad had already told her about the incident," wrote Meg Sullivan, Delp's fiancee's sister. "Quite contrary to what the article implies, Brad's fear of the repercussions from the event between us was not the reason that he decided to end his life. They had discussed it and were dealing with it together as the loving couple they were."
The Globe story suggested that Delp had taken his life rather than tell his fiancee about the incident. However, Pamela Sullivan, Delp's fiancee, has confirmed in sworn deposition testimony that Delp told her about the incident with Meg Sullivan, and that she told him that she regarded it as an aberration that was the result of the mental state that he found himself in in the last few months of his life as a result of the stress he was under. Delp's fiancee also confirmed that she told Delp that she forgave him and that it would not affect their relationship or their upcoming marriage.
In her statement, Meg Sullivan said that "quite apart from all the evidence that Brad was contemplating, and even actually planning, his suicide in the weeks before this incident, Mr. Scholz's conduct has resulted in a personal, private matter between Brad and me becoming public. Apparently as a result of Mr. Scholz's efforts, the Boston Globe has published the details of the incident. This has needlessly caused my sister, Brad's family and friends, and me, enormous pain, and for no good reason."
"If Mr. Scholz had ever truly been a friend of Brad's, and truly had respect for Brad's memory, this would not have occurred," Meg Sullivan wrote in her statement.
Court documents reflect that at about 2 p.m. on Feb. 27, 2007, the day before the Feb. 28, 2007 incident which Scholz argues caused Delp to take his life, Delp went to Home Depot and purchased the exact same kind and color of duct tape that was found in Delp's vanity sink feet away from where Delp took his life. Also found with Delp was a piece of paper listing the health effects of levels of carbon monoxide for certain periods of time. Nearby was a carbon monoxide monitor which digitally showed the levels of carbon monoxide, with a 9-volt Duracell battery that it took right next to it. The monitor's instructions and battery compartment expressly stated that it took Energizer and Duracell 9-volt batteries.
Court documents reflect that at 2 o'clock on Feb. 27, the day before the incident, at the same time that he purchased the duct tape found near him at the time of his death, he purchased four 9-volt Duracell batteries. Then, according to court documents, at 9:40 the night of Feb. 27, the night before the incident, Delp went out to Wal-Mart to purchase Energizer 9-volt batteries, the other kind of battery called for in the instructions for, and on, the carbon monoxide monitor found near Delp at the time of his death.
A summary of pretrial testimony in the case also reflects that on the last Boston tour, in 2004, Delp told his friends that he was deeply depressed at being still associated with Boston, and that he could not stand it anymore. According to the testimony of one of his bandmates, Anthony Cosmo, Delp told him that one way for him to finally get out of Boston was to commit suicide. "He goes, ‘I can always just kill myself.' I go, ‘Brad, what are you talking about? You know, don't joke around with me like that.' He looked at me with that eye directly. ‘No, I am serious.' And he just walked away."
The summary also indicates that in late January, 2007, six weeks before the camera incident, Delp had gone to his doctor saying that the band and Scholz were increasing his anxiety, and that he was thinking of quitting the band. According to Delp's doctor's testimony, Delp told him that "he was having a lot of stress, that a great deal of it had to deal with the band, and that he was contemplating quitting the band. He — the only name that he mentioned was Tom Scholz."
On Feb. 1, 2007, a friend of Delp visited him at his home and found him more despondent about the upcoming Boston tour than he had ever heard him in 25 years. Over the next several weeks before he took his life, Delp told close friends that he did not know how he was going to be able to go out on tour with Scholz and Boston again, and that he wanted badly to get out. On Feb. 28, 2007, Scholz sent Delp an email confirming that the summer tour was going to take place, and on March 7, 2007, a little over 24 hours before Delp took his life, Scholz's tour manager called Delp to discuss arrangements for the upcoming tour.
In her statement, Meg Sullivan said that Delp had a long history of depression and anxiety, but that "based on what Brad told me about feeling abused by Mr. Scholz, about his horror at being associated with Mr. Scholz, and about his desperate desire to end that association, I have testified that in my opinion Tom Scholz and Brad's experience with Boston had the effect of badly exacerbating that depression and anxiety."
Meg Sullivan, Pamela Sullivan and Delp's former wife, Micki, have all testified that they do not believe that the camera incident was the reason for Delp's decision to take his life. Meg Sullivan said in her statement: "Based on what I know, what I observed, what Brad told me before he took his life, what Brad told others before he took his life and several pretty clear facts, I do not believe that this incident was what led Brad to take his life. I am sorry, and I am outraged, that Mr. Scholz has treated Brad's family and friends the way he has in the 5 years since Brad's death, filing lawsuits, threatening lawsuits, serving subpoenas and forcing all of us to relive one of the most traumatic events of our lives. Whether he does this in order to obtain publicity, out of a penchant for bullying those without the resources to fight back, or for other reasons, I do not pretend to know."
The Globe article referred to excerpts of pretrial testimony that were not part of the public record, and reported Scholz's allegation that Delp's decision to take his life was the result of distress dating back to issues with his Pamela Sullivan in 2006 and to the incident with Meg Sullivan. However, by December 2006, Delp and Pamela Sullivan had gotten back together, had become engaged and were planning their wedding, for which they had selected a date. Both Meg Sullivan and Pamela Sullivan have testified that they do not believe that the incident with Meg was the reason that Delp took his life, pointing instead to distress that Delp was already feeling at the time of the incident, and both have said that they regard the incident as out of character for Delp, reflecting his mental condition at the time.
In a statement issued after the Globe story, Delp's children Jenna and John Michael Delp said: "It's been a difficult five years, dealing with the loss of our dad, but we think the most difficult part of it has been having to watch the same needless cruelty and abuse that plagued him in his life continue to plague our family and friends in the wake of his passing."
Their statement went on: "Our dad was the most kind, generous, peaceful, loving person we have ever known. That should be his legacy. We're tired of having to fight for it, and we hope to see the day when our dad will finally be allowed the peace in death that eluded him in life."
In 2007, Scholz sued Micki Delp, alleging that she had defamed him in an interview with the Herald shortly after Delp took his life about her opinions about the pressures he had been feeling leading up to his death. According to court records, Delp and his former wife remained very close friends after their divorce, and court documents indicate that he called her about 70 times over the last year of his life, including shortly before his suicide. Last year a Superior Court judge dismissed Scholz's defamation lawsuit against her.
In 2010, Scholz filed a separate lawsuit against the Herald, alleging that it had defamed him in reporting on its interview with Micki Delp. That lawsuit is still pending.
Evidence of the camera incident did not emerge until the summer of 2011, four years after Delp's death and approximately 15 months after Scholz's litigation against the Herald began. Herald reporters have testified that they had no knowledge of the incident at the time of their initial reporting on Delp's suicide in 2007. Meg Sullivan and Pamela Sullivan have confirmed that they did not disclose the incident to the Herald and would not have done so. Similarly, Micki Delp has testified that she was unaware of the incident until the middle of 2011. This evidence was set forth in the public record at the time of the Globe's recent story.