Caden Cox made historical past at Hocking College in 2021 when he grew to become the primary recognized particular person with Down syndrome to play and rating in a university soccer sport. Now, he’s suing the junior faculty, claiming he was discriminated in opposition to, harassed and assaulted.
In a lawsuit filed by his mom, Mari Cox, on Thursday, Mr. Cox accused a former supervisor on the pupil recreation middle the place Mr. Cox labored of “incapacity discrimination, bodily assault, and chronic verbal harassment.”
mr. Cox burst onto the nationwide sports activities scene within the fall of 2021, after kicking a third-quarter area purpose and went on to kick three extra that season, incomes a function on ESPN. Months later, he created a clothes assortment with the model Jake Max, that includes the college’s colours.
“They mentioned he could not even go to varsity and look the place he’s,” Mari Cox instructed the community on the time.
mr. Cox additionally labored whereas attending Hocking College, a neighborhood faculty in Nelsonville, Ohio, the place the swimsuit alleges he was harassed and assaulted by his boss. His supervisor, Matthew Kmosko, is among the many defendants named within the swimsuit, together with Betty Young, the college president, the board of trustees and 5 unnamed faculty staff.
mr. Kmosko, who resigned, was discovered responsible in January of threatening Mr. Cox and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
The faculty and the board of trustees mentioned in an emailed assertion that they might not touch upon energetic investigations or pending litigations, however “will cooperate with officers.”
dr. Young additionally declined to touch upon the swimsuit, filed within the US District Court for Southern Ohio. “I’m pleased Hocking College might present a chance for Caden to be a profitable pupil and student-athlete and now a graduate,” she mentioned in an electronic mail, including that the college “stays dedicated to all our college students.”
mr. Kmosko repeatedly used “derogatory slurs about people with Down syndrome,” degraded Mr. Cox’s talents, as soon as demanded to undergo his telephone and put his hand on Mr. Cox inappropriately, the swimsuit claimed, and he was the topic of different harassment complaints.
In July 2021 and once more in January 2022, Ms. Cox, who additionally works at Hocking College, emailed considerations about Mr. Kmosko to high school officers, however his conduct solely worsened, the swimsuit mentioned, culminating with Mr. Kmosko following Mr. Cox into a toilet and threatening him with a knife.
mr. Cox was granted a safety order in opposition to Mr. Kmosko in May 2022, however the harassment left him with anxiousness that restricted his skill to go to campus, the swimsuit mentioned, and he would grow to be upset each time he noticed a pink automobile much like Mr. Moscow’s.
The lawsuit blames “the deliberate indifference of Dr. Y-oung and different Hocking personnel” for the trauma Mr. Cox incurred from Mr. Kmosko, for which he’s searching for compensatory and punitive damages.
It additionally accuses the faculty of retaliation, saying it denied Mr. Cox two commencement awards he had been promised after attorneys representing the Cox household delivered a letter to the college administration in early December detailing their allegations.
After graduating from Hocking College final yr, Mr. Cox participated in a soccer internship at Texas A&M. He expects to attend Ohio State University within the fall, for a certificates program for college kids with disabilities.
“The last item we needed was a lawsuit. This faculty has been a serious a part of our lives,” Ms. Cox mentioned in a press release shared by a lawyer.
“Caden had an amazing expertise earlier than this occurred. We simply felt like our complaints to directors went nowhere,” Ms. Cox wrote. “We actually hope this results in a change in how harassment is addressed for all susceptible college students on the college.”