If you’ve been on a retreat or just recently released from a kidnapper who kept you from the national news then you’ve missed the latest attack on the American family. An 18 year old New Jersey teen is suing her baby boomer parents for financial and emotional support until she decides she’s ready to be emancipated. The whopping demand hovered around $650 a week in support, high school tuition back pay, college tuition and legal fees. Justice prevailed this time, but it’s not over. Judge Peter Bogaard denied everything, leaving the college tuition issue until April 22. (Her financial aid forms are due well before that.)
Why the lawsuit? Rachael Canning, the honor student, lacrosse player, and cheerleader captain claims her parents were abusive; that her mother called her names (verbally abusive) and her father has touched her inappropriately.
Canning’s parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning denied the allegations of abuse. They took issue with Rachel’s truancy last fall, faulting her boyfriend, Lucas Kitzmiller’s influence. She was suspended from school. These terrible, radical parents were concerned over Rachel’s defiant behavior this past year because it had resulted in school suspensions, drinking, losing her captaincy on the cheerleading squad and being removed from the campus ministry. Prior to this extreme behavior change, Rachel was an honor student, an athlete who has received acceptance letters from several colleges and a $20,000 scholarship offer from a New York private college.
Rachel’s mother stated that between August and October 30, 2013, Rachel attended weekend parties and became intoxicated. She said that in early October Rachel committed a theft on her credit card, which was given to her only for the purpose of purchasing presents for her father’s birthday.
Canning then referred to another theft going back to 2011 where Rachel stole $100 from her purse, “snuck out of the house, at midnight, attended a party…. And returned home by taxi at 3:30 AM on a weeknight.”
In these last incidents of rebellion, Rachel’s parents took away both car and phone privileges. And what was Rachel’s response? She cut school again and then decided to run away. After staying two nights at her boyfriend’s home, she moved into her friend’s home.
Enter best friend, Jaimie Inglesino’s father: John Inglesino. A lawyer. A powerful lawyer. A powerful political lawyer. In fact, Inglesino was named one of the Top 100 “powerful people” in New Jersey by Politicker NJ for 2013. According to nj.com, Inglesino “serves as township attorney for Parsippany, planning board attorney for Morristown and Florham Park, special counsel to Lopatcong and Rahway, and as general counsel to the Morris County Insurance Fund.” Of course, he’s counseling and funding Rachel’s lawsuit (even hired Rachel’s attorney, Tanya Helfand) because he’s deeply concerned for Rachel to fulfill her potential. The premise for the lawsuit declares that Rachel is unemancipated, meaning her parents remain obligated to financially support her. I wonder who thought of that angle along with “abandonment charges”? We know that Rachel told Morris Catholic High School she was abused; they contacted The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) who responded to Rachel’s allegations of abuse by meeting with the family.
The parents were cleared of the abuse charges. The DCPP after interviewing Rachel’s parents and two younger sisters concluded that Rachel is a spoiled child, not abused.
The abandonment charge also fell apart. Elizabeth Canning, Rachel’s mother, said that she was not forced from their home, but ”. . .took it upon herself to run away so that she could live her life without any parental supervision and without any rules.”
Elizabeth Canning noted that the Inglesino family was enabling the teen’s “wild ways”. Canning said in court, “She [Rachel] would often tell us how the Inglesino parents would allow alcohol parties to be held at their house. Mrs. Inglesino gave all the girls wine coolers to drink.”
The Judge’s opinion? “What kind of parents would the Canning’s be if they didn’t try to set down some strict rules?” He read from a foul voicemail message from Rachel to her mother: “I wanna s*** all over your face’”. The Judge remarked, “Have you ever in your experience seen such gross disrespect for a parent? I don’t see it in my house.”
Yet, on March 12, Rachel moved back home. The parent’s new attorney, Angelo Sarno, believes that the case does not belong in the court system and should be settled “in a swift and amicable” way. Interestingly, Rachel’s return home is not contingent on any financial considerations.
Apparently some Millennials think they are owed financial and emotional support from baby boomers parents beyond the age of 18. Where did they acquire this attitude? Who inculcated this generation with that mindset?
In this case a friend’s father—an attorney takes it upon himself to bankroll the law suit, not only composing the argument to sue, but includes his reimbursement for his expenditures.
The redeeming side to this drama was that the judge who presided over the case had righteous judgment. But know this: this seed has been seen by attorneys all over America. This case became a centerpiece by mainstream media. Be assured that the next ambitious wannabe ambulance chaser yearning to make The 100 Most Powerful People list will refine the argument and be on the lookout for the next Rachel Canning.
Are you a baby boomer parent? Be aware—and prepare.