Caden Cox made history at Hocking College in 2021 when he became the first person with Down syndrome to play and score in a college football game. She is now suing the junior college, alleging she was discriminated against, harassed and assaulted.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday by her mother, Mari Cox, Cox accuses the former superintendent of the daycare center where Cox worked of “constant discrimination, beatings, and harassment.”
Mr. Cox emerged on the national scene at the end of 2021, scoring the third goal and kicking three more that season, earning a spot on ESPN. Months later, he made a dress a donation it’s Jake Max’s version, with the school’s colors.
“They said they couldn’t even go to the college to see where he is,” Mari Cox he told the network at that time.
Mr. Cox also worked while attending Hocking College, a community college in Nelsonville, Ohio, where the suit alleges he was harassed and assaulted by his employer. Its principal, Matthew Kmosko, is among the defendants, along with Betty Young, the school’s president, the board of trustees and five unnamed college employees.
Mr. Kmosko, who resigned, was convicted in January of threatening Cox and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
The college and its board of trustees said in an emailed statement that they would not comment on investigations or pending lawsuits, but would “cooperate with authorities.”
Dr. Young also declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio. “I am pleased that Hocking College can provide Caden with the opportunity to be a successful student and student-athlete and now that he has graduated,” he said in an email, adding that the school “remains committed to all of our students.”
Mr. Kmosko repeatedly used derogatory terms about people with Down syndrome. complaints.
In July 2021 and in January 2022, Ms. Cox, who also works at Hocking College, sent emails complaining about Mr. Kmosko to school officials, but his behavior only escalated, the suit said, culminating in Mr. Kmosko going after Cox. bathroom and threaten him with a knife.
Mr. Cox was granted a protective order against Mr. Kmosko in May 2022, but the abuse left him with anxiety that prevented him from going to school, the suit said, and he became depressed whenever he saw a red car that resembled Mr. Kmosko’s.
The lawsuit blames the “deliberate indifference of Dr. Y-oung and other Hocking employees” for the pain Mr. Cox suffered from Mr. Kmosko, who is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
It also accuses the college of retaliation, saying it denied Cox two promised graduation awards after lawyers representing the Cox family submitted a letter to school administrators in early December detailing their allegations.
After graduating from Hocking College last year, Cox took a football scholarship to Texas A&M. She hopes to attend Ohio State University in the fall, for a certificate program for students with disabilities.
“The last thing we wanted was a lawsuit. This college has been a big part of our lives,” Ms. Cox said in a statement to the attorney.
“Caden had a positive experience before this incident. We just felt like our complaints to the administration were going nowhere,” said Mrs. Cox.