Kayden Cox made history in 2021 by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to play and score in a college football game at Hocking University. He is now suing the college for discrimination, harassment and assault.
His mother, Mari Cox, filed a lawsuit on Thursday accusing the former director of the student recreation center where Cox worked for “disability discrimination, physical assault and persistent verbal harassment.”
After kicking a field goal in the third quarter, Cox, now 23, burst onto the national sports scene in the fall of 2021 and went on to kick three more goals that season, earning a feature on ESPN. A few months later, he created a clothing collection incorporating school colors under his brand Jake Max.
“They said he couldn’t even go to college and see where he was,” Mari Cox told the network at the time.
Cox, who attended and worked at Hocking College, a community college in Nelsonville, Ohio, alleges that Cox was harassed and assaulted by his boss. His boss, Matthew Mosco, is one of the named defendants in the lawsuit, along with school principal Betty Young. Board of Trustees; and five anonymous university officials.
Kumosko, who resigned, was found guilty of threatening Cox in January and was sentenced to 30 days in prison.
In an emailed statement, the university and its board said they would not comment on ongoing investigations or pending lawsuits, but would “cooperate with the authorities.”
Dr. Young also declined to comment on the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. “I am delighted that Hocking College is providing Kayden with the opportunity to succeed as a student and student-athlete and to become an alumnus,” she said in an email, adding that the school “continues to be fully committed to all students.” I will,” he added.
According to the complaint, Mr. Kumosco repeatedly used “disparaging slurs against people with Down syndrome,” demeaning Mr. Cox’s ability, and once called Mr. Cox to demand that he place his hands inappropriately, He also claims to have been the subject of other harassment. Complaint.
Ms. Cox, who works at Hocking University, emailed school officials again in July 2021 and January 2022 with concerns about Mr. Kumosko, but his attitude only worsened, and Mr. Cox eventually ended up with Cox. The lawsuit states that it has led to the pursuit of Mr. He went to the bathroom and threatened with a knife.
According to the complaint, Cox received a protective order against Mr. Cumosko in May 2022, but the harassment left him insecure, restricted him from going to campus, and said Cox would see a red car that resembled Mr. Cumosko every time he saw it. It is said that he became upset. Mr. Kumosco’s.
The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Cox’s trauma from Mr. Kumosco was caused by the “willful indifference” of Dr. Young and other Hocking personnel, for which Mr. Cox seeks compensation and punitive damages. Seeking.
The university also retaliated by denying Cox two graduation awards promised to him after a lawyer representing the Cox family delivered a letter detailing the allegations to school officials in early December. are accused of
After graduating from Hocking College last year, Cox took a football internship at Texas A&M. He plans to attend Ohio State University in the fall for a certificate program for students with disabilities.
“What we wanted was a lawsuit. This college is a big part of our lives,” Ms. Cox said in a statement shared by her attorney.
“Cayden had a great experience before the incident happened. We felt like our complaints to management were wasted,” Cox wrote. “We sincerely hope that this will lead to a change in how harassment is handled for all vulnerable students in our school.”