Judge in Canning Suit Rules In Favor of Parents – Do You Agree with Decision? [POLL]
The much discussed decision in the case of the 18 year old Lincoln Park girl who’s living apart from her parents yet expects them to support her financially has come down.
And so far, the parents aren’t on the hook for her high school tuition.
Up in the air, however, is whether or not they’d still have to pay for her college.
Rachel Canning, an honor student and a cheerleader at Morris Catholic High School, has been staying with her best friend's family in Rockaway. The friend's father, former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino, is bankrolling the lawsuit.
The judge decided Tuesday that her parents would not be financially responsible for the rest of her high school education. Mostly because that has already been paid for by donations.
The ruling on Rachel's college education has been delayed for now.
According to the criminal complaint made available Tuesday, Canning alleges verbal and physical abuse at the hands of her parents. She claims that her parents have an income in excess of $300,000 but cut off her tuition payments as punishment in the middle of the school year, blaming her for not wanted to accept the rules of the house. They also redirected her college fund, according to the complaint.
She says her father, retired Lincoln Park police Chief Sean Canning, left over the summer as part of ongoing discord with her mother, and that her parents only reunited after she left the house. Then, she claims, they decided jointly to cut her off.
According to the complaint, both officials at her school and her therapist have advised her not to return home, and she cites examples of other people witnessing her parents verbal abuse and contacting authorities.
She claims that her mother referred to her as "fat" and "porky," which prompted an eating disorder that cost her a basketball season after her father demanded she earn a scholarship and forbid her from seeing her boyfriend. She also says that he was inappropriately affectionate, citing an incident in which he got her drunk at a wedding and said she was his date.
Her parents dispute all the claims, and their attorney issued a statement before a hearing on Tuesday. "These allegations are unsubstantiated and the evidence that will be presented by my clients to the Court contradicts such allegations and challenges the credibility of the Certifications filed," Laurie Rush-Masuret, the lawyer for Sean and Elizabeth Canning, said.
Her parents say that Rachel has had disciplinary problems, including stealing credit cards, underage drinking, breaking curfew, driving under age, lying to Child Protective Services, being suspended from school, losing her position within Campus Ministry and being stripped of her cheer captaincy. They claim the abuse investigations "concluded as no abuse was found, just a spoiled child."
They cite excessive partying with her boyfriend and a complete disregard for the loving home they provided as the reasoning for which she willingly left the house.
Sean Canning spoke with Eyewitness on Monday. He said that his daughter left home voluntarily because she didn't want to abide by reasonable household rules, such as being respectful, keeping a curfew and doing some chores.
Sean Canning says this is tearing his family apart.
"We would be wholed and healed as a family if [Rachel] were back home," he said. "I think she's being enabled. I think she's being steered down the wrong area, and it's killing us. It really is."
The lawsuit was filed in family court last week, and the hearing will be the first time Sean Canning has seen his daughter since October of last year.
Inglesino told The Daily Record of Parsippany that he and his wife decided to fund the lawsuit because they fear Canning will lose opportunities for a strong education and a happy future without her parents' contributions.
Canning, who hopes to become a biochemical engineer, is seeking immediate financial support and wants to force her parents to pay for her college education. She also wanted a judge to declare that she's non-emancipated and dependent as a student on her parents for support.
So is this the case, as it appears to be, of a bratty kid going up against her parents – with an enabling family allowing her to live under their roof?
Too many questions still unanswered - most notably, why are the Inglesinos backing up the teen? Is this being done out of pity for the kid - or something more.