Noah Lottick was an American student of Russian studies who committed suicide on May 11, 1990 by jumping from a 10th-floor hotel window, clutching his only remaining money in his hands. After his death, a controversy arose revolving around his parents' concern over his membership in the Church of Scientology.
Noah Lottick had taken Scientology courses, and paid USD$5,000 for these services. After taking these courses, Lottick's friends and family remarked that he began to act strangely. They stated to Time magazine that he told them that his Scientologist teachers were telepathic, and that his father's heart attack was purely psychosomatic. Five days before Lottick's death, his parents say he visited their home claiming they were spreading "false rumors" about him.
Lottick's suicide was profiled in the Time cover story that was highly critical of Scientology, "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power," which received the Gerald Loeb Award, and later appeared in Reader's Digest.
Lottick's father, Dr Edward Lottick, stated that his initial impression of Scientology was that it was similar to Dale Carnegie's techniques. However, after his son's death, his opinion was that the organization is a "school for psychopaths." He blamed Scientology for his son's death, although no direct connection was determined. After Dr Lottick's remarks were published in the media, the Church of Scientology haggled with him over $3,000 that Noah had allegedly paid to the Church and not utilized for services. The Church claimed Lottick had intended for this to be a donation.
After the article describing these incidents had been published in Time, Dr and Mrs Lottick submitted affidavitswhen the Church of Scientology sued Richard Behar and Time magazine for $416 million. All counts against Behar and Time were later dismissed.In their court statements, the Lotticks "affirmed the accuracy of each statement in the article," and stated that Dr Lottick "concluded that Scientology therapies were manipulations, and that no Scientology staff members attended the funeral [of their son]." Lottick's father cited his son's suicide as his motivation for researching cults, in his article describing a survey of physicians that he presented to the Pennsylvania State Medical Society.
The Church of Scientology issued a press release denying any responsibility for Lottick's suicide. Spokesperson Mike Rinder was quoted in the St. Petersburg Times as saying that Lottick had an argument with his parents four days before his death. Rinder stated, "I think Ed Lottick should look in the mirror...I think Ed Lottick made his son's life intolerable."