This is a great question, and a great play on words. In chapter 10, Max and Kevin begin a "quest" after finding a purse in the storm sewer. Kevin decides it must belong to a "damsel in distress," a woman in trouble, and the two boys set out to return the purse to its rightful owner, Loretta.
The title of chapter 11, however, is "The Damsel OF Distress." As we find out in that chapter, and also later in the story, Loretta is indeed the cause of much trouble. Through her, Max's father, after his release from jail, finds a place to hide after kidnapping his son.
On the other hand, it is Loretta and her boyfriend Iggy who eventually help Max to escape, although it almost costs Loretta her life.
it is loretta