Teen Kicked Out of Camp for Kissing, Lawsuit Claims

A family sued after claiming their daughter was kicked out of camp for kissing.

ByABC News
July 30, 2013, 11:36 AM

July 30, 2013— -- The family of a teenage girl that said she was kicked out of her summer camp for kissing a boy filed a lawsuit in Connecticut court demanding compensation before withdrawing the suit.

The Westport, Conn., family filed the suit anonymously in order to protect the identity of the 15-year-old camper, according to court documents that referred to her only as "Jane Doe" and to her summer paramour as "Dick."

But after filing the suit Monday against Camp Emerson in Hinsdale, Mass., and its director, Sue Lein, the family withdrew the suit on the same day, according to the Superior Court of Connecticut in Fairfield.

The family alleged in the suit that Jane was humiliated and called a "slut" and "tramp" for kissing Dick, accused of taking off her bra and acting inappropriately, and then expelled from camp and escorted off the property by an armed guard.

The daughter, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and extreme anxiety, suffered severe emotional harm from the incident, including humiliation and guilt, according to the lawsuit.

The camp and Lein declined to comment on the story for ABC News.

The camp's handbook, available on its website, prohibits "sexually provocative" behavior and "sexual relations or physical contact with another person (opposite or same sex)."

The suit noted that the handbook, also sent to families before the start of camp in the summer, did not forbid kissing in its list of prohibited behaviors and spelled out a three-strike policy for campers who break rules.

However, the copy of the handbook on the website noted campers can be dismissed on the first strike depending on the severity of the offense.

The attorney representing the family, Terri Hall, did not immediately return calls for comment.

The girl's father said in an email to the Connecticut Post that the lawsuit was "done with right intentions to teach her to stick up for herself, but this has spiralled," and so the suit was withdrawn.

The trouble for Dick and Jane began earlier this month at Camp Emerson, where they met and "developed feelings" for one another, according to the lawsuit.

At a camp-run activity known as "court time," during which male and female campers court one another on the basketball courts, counselors allegedly encouraged the teenage boy to kiss the alleged victim.

"The male counselors ... kindly and nurturingly encouraged and/or enticed Dick to kiss Plaintiff, Jane, because they allegedly knew Dick had never been kissed and they recognized that Dick and Plaintiff, Jane, had deep feelings for each other," the lawsuit read.

The pair then went behind the arts and crafts shed and kissed, according to the suit.

"The kiss was a beautiful, innocent moment between Dick and Plaintiff, Jane," the documents read.

Counselors high-fived Dick after the kiss and congratulated the pair, the suit said.

However, Lein found out about the pair's kiss and accused both campers of sexually provocative behavior and removing each other's clothing, according to the lawsuit. She allegedly called the 15-year-old girl "a slut and/or loose and/or fast and/or a tramp," and expelled "Jane Doe" for her behavior with Dick.

It was not clear from the lawsuit whether or not Dick was disciplined.

"Jane was escorted out of ... Camp Emerson ... by a uniformed, gun-carrying police officer," the suit read.

The parents of the 15-year-old girl said in the lawsuit that they were denied a refund for their daughter's camp tuition and had to cancel international travel plans in order to pick up their daughter from camp when she was expelled.

They called their daughter's time with Dick, "the summer romance that most teens yearn for," and said it allowed their daughter, "a child of divorced parents ... to feel confident and beautiful for the very first time in her life," according to the suit.

They sought damages and reimbursement, but withdrew the suit before a judgment could be rendered.