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Westporters' lawsuit over camp kiss, expulsion withdrawn

Updated 12:52 pm, Tuesday, July 30, 2013
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Court records indicate the parents of a 15-year-old Westport girl have withdrawn a lawsuit -- within hours after they filed it -- that claimed their daughter was kicked out of summer camp after a boy kissed her.

The lawsuit, which gained wide notoriety after it was filed Monday at Superior Court in Bridgeport, contended the girl was sent home from Camp Emerson in Hinsdale, Mass., last month. It also said a camp official falsely accused her and the boy of sexually provocative behavior.

Neither the girl nor her parents were named in the suit.

Sue Lein, the camp director, declined to comment Monday. A message was left with her Tuesday.

The lawsuit alleged negligent infliction of emotional distress, defamation and other claims.

"It was an innocent kiss between two young kids, condoned by the camp's counselors, but instead of treating it as a sensitive situation, the camp's director yelled at the girl for being promiscuous in front of everyone and had her escorted from the camp by an armed guard," said the family's lawyer, Rosemarie Arnold.

The lawsuit had sought damages in excess of $600,000.

The lawsuit did not disclose the name of the Westport family. The girl, who just celebrated her 15th birthday, is referred to in the suit as Jane, while the boy, 15, is Dick.

Camp Emerson is an overnight camp for boys and girls ages 7 to 15.

Arnold said this was Jane's fourth summer at the camp and she had no prior disciplinary problems.

She said the girl suffers from low self-esteem issues and her parents sent her to the camp hoping she would gain some self-confidence.

"Instead, this quiet, withdrawn girl was hauled out in front of all her friends, in essence called a tramp and then run out of the camp," she said.

Arnold said the girl's parents were made to wait outside the camp for their daughter and were told she was a security risk.

She said the girl was not given back her belongings or the money her parents paid to send her to the camp.

Arnold said the 15-year-old boy, who was high-fived after kissing the girl, was also kicked out of the camp.

She said the girl had not violated the camp's "three-strikes rule," and kissing was not listed as a rule violation.

The lawsuit stated that on numerous occasions, other campers and counselors at camp were caught kissing or in bed together and urinated on other campers and were never kicked out of camp or reprimanded in any other way.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.