Update: Rachel Canning is back at her parents’ New Jersey home after suing them for tuition and living expenses. Canning appeared in court last week, where the judge denied her application. She returns 4 1/2 months after leaving home. The lawsuit has not officially been withdrawn.
Canning’s lawyer made an urgent appeal to have the file for the case sealed, which was also denied. And the family put out a statement asking for privacy. The parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning, have two other children.
“In her lawsuit, Rachel Canning has been seeking a declaration of non-emancipation — or continuing financial dependence on her family. She wanted [Judge Peter] Bogaard to award her $654 weekly in child support and make her parents pay her upcoming college tuition,” USA Today reports. Rachel Canning’s court costs, so far totaling $13,000, have been paid by one of her friend’s fathers, another lawyer John Inglesino.
A court filing includes statements from a psychologist and school faculty saying the parents are abusive. It’s unclear at this point why Rachel is going home. However, the parents’ lawyer Angelo Sarno says the family is trying to reconcile.
Rachel Canning is an honor student who has been accepted to several colleges and wants to become a biomedical engineer.
Update by Tonya Garcia. Original posted March 5, 2014
She’s a cheerleader, lacrosse player, and honor student at Morris Catholic High School. What could possibly go wrong? Well, how about a nice kick in the rear out of her parents home! Rachel Canning, 18, is suing her mom and dad for school tuition and living expenses to cover her newly acquired independence, The Daily News reports.
In a tense hearing at New Jersey’s Morris County Courthouse on Tuesday, Rachel is asking for financial support from her parents — who allegedly kicked her out the house — to pay the remainder of her high school tuition, her living expenses, an impending college education, and even legal fees for the current suit!
Rachel claims that her parents have abused her; her father was allegedly “inappropriately affectionate” while her mother caused her to develop bulemia by repeatedly calling her “porky” and “fat.” All this, she says, eventually drove her out the house last year.
“I have been subjected to severe verbal and physical abuse by my mother and father,” Canning wrote in a court document, CNN says. “I am not willingly and voluntarily leaving a reasonable situation at home to make my own decisions. I had to leave to end the abuse.”
Her parents are telling a different story.
“We’re being sued by our child. I’m dumbfounded — so is my wife, so is my other daughters,” Sean Canning, Rachel’s father, told CBS News. The Cannings say that Rachel is a rebellious teen that hasn’t been adhering to her parents’ rules. She refused to dump a toxic boyfriend, follow a midnight curfew, and dodged doing house chores.
They say Rachel, who is currently staying at a friend’s house, left their home willingly.
“To be clear, my clients never abandoned nor abused their child, and they have asked her to come home,” Laurie Rush-Masuret, the parents’ attorney told reporters just before entering court.
“In the four months that Rachel had been with the Inglesinos [her friend’s home], these people have not called her, they have not come to see her, they have not sent a penny to her or to her benefactors,” Rachel Canning’s attorney, Tanya Helfand, told Judge Peter Bogaard.
Unfortunately for Rachel, Helfand’s statement didn’t sway Judge Bogaard. He denied Rachel’s $650-a-week request for her high school tuition. But it’s not over yet. The Cannings will battle it out again on April 22 to settle on Rachel’s demand for college tuition — even though she’s nabbed a $20,000 scholarship to The University of Vermont.
Independent investigators of the home atmosphere concluded that the high school senior is “spoiled” — a statement that Judge Bogaard agreed with.