Cheerleader drops case against her parents

Rachel Canning. Photo / AP
Rachel Canning. Photo / AP

A New Jersey high school cheerleader who sued her parents for child support and tuition has agreed to dismiss her lawsuit.

Rachel Canning, 18, appeared in court in Morristown on Tuesday and testified that she has decided to drop the complaint against her parents, Elizabeth and Sean Canning.

Family Division Judge Peter Bogaard ruled that he found her decision to dismiss the litigation 'was a knowing and voluntary decision,' and he ordered the case dismissed, The Star-Ledger reported.

Read: Teen's attempt to sue her parents fails

Rachel moved out of her parents' home in Lincoln Park in late October after her parents refused to pay her bills if she refused to accept their house rules and break up with her boyfriend.

In her lawsuit, Rachel had sought child support, private school and college tuition and payment of her legal bills.

But last week, the teenager returned home with her tail between her legs after the judge took a dim view of her lawsuit, and she was pictured outside the home with her parents.

Just hours after the teenager returned home, Rachel's attorney had requested a court-appointed legal guardian for the girl - which was promptly denied.

Though Canning went to court hoping to shame her parents into paying her child support after kicking her out for failing to abide by their rules, she was the one who took the brunt of criticism - both from her parent's lawyers and the judge himself.

"Have you ever in your experience seen such gross disrespect for a parent? I don't see it in my house," Family Division Judge Peter Bogaard said at a hearing two weeks ago.

He also warned he must consider the "slippery slope" where "we open the gates for a 12-year-old to sue for an Xbox, a 13-year-old to sue for an iPhone... what about a 15-year-old asking for a 60 inch TV?"

Last week, the lawyer representing Rachel's parents held a press conference confirming that the family had been reunited, but would not say what had sparked it.

"This is a long process, it's only the beginning," Angelo Sarno said, according to the Daily Record. "This is a private matter. It should have never been brought to the court's attention. It should have never been brought to the public."

He added: "It's ancient history, it's done... This is a happy situation."

In shocking legal documents submitted to the court throughout the process, the honor-roll student said her parents' behavior contributed to her developing an eating disorder at a young age and saw her weight plummet. She also said that her father had an "inappropriate affection" for her.

She argued that since her parents have a combined yearly income of between $250,000 and $300,000, she was entitled to $654-a-week in child support.

Her parents also refused to pay $6,000 owed in school fees for her Catholic High School.

A Department of Children and Families investigation cleared Mr Canning of any claims of abuse, with Rachel's parents claiming an official assigned to the case came to the conclusion she was just 'spoiled'.

Her parents had claimed their daughter ran off to stay with friends when she turned 18 because she refused to abide by rules they had set down, including to stop dating her boyfriend.

The judge clearly took a dim view of the lawsuit. He said: 'What kind of parents would the Cannings be if they didn't try to set down some strict rules?

"I'm not going to put myself in anyone's shoes, he's (father Sean) trying to raise a child. It's clear to me all the positive qualities Rachel obviously has, in terms of sports and academics, but I'm not going to step on a father for how he tries to get his child on the right tracks when she has obviously come off the tracks, to put it mildly."

Through the hearings, it was revealed that she previously threatened to sue a teacher for kicking her out of the Homecoming dance because he thought she was drunk.

Judge Peter Bogaard also read an expletive-laden and vicious voice message left by Rachel to her mother, in which she said: "I wanna s*** all over your face".

Rachel's controversial legal battle was funded by the father of her best friend, millionaire lawyer Jon Inglesino. The Cannings believed he enabled their daughter's behavior.

- Daily Mail

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