Teen Sues Parents Over 'Abandonment,' Claims They Sparked Eating Disorder

By McCarton Ackerman 03/07/14

Rachel Canning claimed that her mother called her 'fat' while her father made inappropriate advances. Both parents have denied the charges.

Rachel Canning.jpg
Rachel Canning. Photo via

A New Jersey teenager has sued her parents for financial support after running away from home last October and accusing her mother of causing her eating disorder.

Rachel Canning, 18, has filed the lawsuit against her parents, Elizabeth and Sean, for “abandoning” her when she ran away from home and said she is entitled to $654 per week in child support based on their current annual income. Canning also asked for private school payments and legal fees.

For the last several months, Canning has been living with the family of her high school friend, Jamie Inglesino, and the girl’s parents are paying her legal fees since her father is an attorney. “I have been subjected to severe and excessive verbal and physical abuse by my mother and father,” she wrote in court documents. “My mother was always demeaning to me. She called me ‘fat’ and ‘porky.’ In my sophomore year, I developed an eating disorder…In my junior year, I was down to 92 pounds. My father was angry that I wasn’t going to be able to play basketball and said I needed to gain weight.” Canning also accused Sean of “inappropriate affection” towards her and once waking her up “at 2 a.m. to come down and play beer pong with him.”

The parents have denied the allegations and Elizabeth claims Rachel’s anger started after they set down rules that included receiving treatment for bulimia. “Upon our return from vacation last year...I went through Rachel’s room and pulled out two extra-large garbage bags filled with vomit,” said Elizabeth. “I brought her to various therapists, who diagnosed her with anorexia and bulimia. I was and am her biggest supporter in trying to get her treated. Because of Rachel’s eating disorder and my determination to get her healthy, Rachel developed hatred towards me.” New reports have also surfaced that Canning got so drunk off vodka at the home of the millionaire attorney paying her legal fees that she threw up on the sidewalk.

Elizabeth and Sean said they have no interest in publicly airing their family drama in court, but feel they are left with no other choice. "We're heartbroken," said Sean. "But what do you do when a child says 'I don't want your rules, but I want everything under the sun and for you to pay for it?'"

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.