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Court Documents Recount ‘Embarrassing Incident’ That Preceded Boston Singer’s Suicide

brad-delp
Paul Natkin, Getty Images

Last week, we told you about a nasty lawsuit filed by Boston guitarist and leader Tom Scholz against the Boston Herald, in which Scholz says the paper implied he drove the band’s lead singer, Brad Delp, to commit suicide in 2007.

Now the Boston Globe reports documents filed in the case reveal a messier, sadder, and far more tabloid-esque story than the one that’s already been told.

Previously, friends of Delp’s told the court about a tense relationship between the singer and Scholz, with former Boston member David Sikes saying Delp “didn’t like Tom and didn’t trust Tom. He felt that Tom had taken advantage of him financially, especially.” Delp’s friend Joy Baker also testified, “Brad just could not stand one more minute of feeling like he could not stand up for himself or do the right thing, if you will, in any aspect of his life, because he was so afraid… he would run from confrontation and I think he was just beaten down by the years of dealing with Tom Scholz.”

For his part, Scholz denied the claims and said “an extremely upsetting and embarrassing incident” between Delp and a close friend is actually what drove the vocalist to take his own life. And now we know what the incident involved. (We apologize in advance if you feel the need to bathe after reading this.)

Seems Delp was engaged to a woman named Pamela Sullivan, and her sister Meg was Delp’s roommate for more than two years. Meg described him as her “best friend,” so she was horrified when she discovered a battery-operated hidden camera in her bedroom — a camera Delp later admitted to planting.

Meg and her boyfriend, Todd Winmill, confronted Delp, and emails show he was incredibly contrite and apologetic, saying, “I feel sick about this, and deservedly so … I want to try and make you understand that I consider myself a decent person who made a dreadful error in judgment … I acted out of some impulse that is still not completely fathomable to me.”

Delp also said an affair that Pamela (his fiancee and Meg’s sister) had the summer before had left him traumatized, adding, “Maybe the emotional roller coaster that I was on … has in some way something to do with what possessed me to do such an irrational and out of character thing.”

Meanwhile, Pamela didn’t know about the camera incident, and Winmill told Delp that he himself should be the one to tell her, writing in an email, “It is because of [Meg’s] regard for you that she has given you this opportunity to tell Pam yourself.”

Delp promised he would, but he asked for a few days to do so. It was during that time period that he bought the charcoal grills he’d eventually light in a sealed bathroom, letting the carbon monoxide overtake him and end his life. Pamela found his body on March 9, 2007.

It’s this incredibly tragic story that Scholz says pushed Delp to commit suicide — not his own relationship with the singer.

Still, in the notes Delp left behind, he apologized to Meg and her boyfriend and said they were not to blame for his death, writing, “I have had bouts of depression and thoughts of suicide since I was a teenager … [Pamela] was my ‘ray of sunshine,’ but sometimes even a ray of sunshine is no substitute for a good psychiatrist.”

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