Published March 12, 2014
The New Jersey teenager who left home and then sued her parents to force them to pay her private school tuition is back with her family, but her lawsuit is apparently still on.
Rachel Canning, 18, has reunited with her parents and siblings a week after a tense courtroom confrontation in which an angry judge called her spoiled and refused to force her mother and father to pony up. Word of the reunion came from the Canning family's attorney, Angelo Sarno, who added in a statement obtained by FoxNews.com that her "return home is not contingent on any financial and/or other considerations.”
The Canning family could not be reached for comment, but Sarno said the case is still on.
“We’re not going to talk about the merits of the case,” Sarno told reporters Wednesday. “She’s home. Respect it. Let’s not figure out what the motivation was.”
Morris County Court Judge Peter Bogaard, who nixed Canning’s potentially precedent-setting lawsuit seeking financial support, including high school tuition payment, said it would set a bad precedent by setting limits on parenting. Canning, a senior at Morris Catholic High School, was denied her request for child support of $654 a week, as well as thousands of dollars in attorney fees and immediate reimbursement of her high school tuition.
Bogaard also ruled that Rachel’s parents must keep her on their health insurance policy and keep status quo on all college savings accounts set up for her.
Canning previously claimed her parents threw her out of their Lincoln Park home two days before her 18th birthday in late October, although her parents insist she moved voluntarily.
Canning's father, retired Lincoln Park Police Chief Sean Canning, told The Daily Record of Parsippany that Rachel left home of her own accord because she didn't want to abide by reasonable household rules, such as being respectful, keeping a curfew and doing some chores.
Canning, who has reportedly already been accepted to several colleges, had since been living in Rockaway Township with relatives of her best friend. Her parents have already paid tuition through Dec. 31, but haven’t signed additional checks since Rachel left the family’s home. Administrators at the school have said they won’t kick her out for unpaid 2014 tuition, The New York Post reports.
In a bizarre twist, Canning’s parents have alleged that the father of the friend she had been lived with — Former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino — gave her alcohol. In court documents, Canning's father says Inglesino gave Rachel her first taste of alcohol, the New Jersey Star Ledger reports.
"Rachel came home bragging," Sean Canning said in a sworn statement, adding that she consumed wine coolers during a limousine ride in New York on her 15th birthday.
The Inglesino family has "enabled this situation to an absurd level," Sean Canning's statement continued.
Inglesino, meanwhile, has said he’s paying Rachel’s legal bills because she’s a “terrific, extremely bright young lady” committed to her future.