UPDATE: Massachusetts teen punished by her school for ‘rescuing’ drunk friend was not in court
Erin Cox, the North Andover High Student who became an Internet cause célèbre after the school punished her for purportedly rescuing a drunk friend from a party, is being accused by law enforcement officials of being a liar. She will be charged with possession of alcohol as a minor and arraigned this morning.
[Editor’s Note: This story has been updated. Please see below.]
Cox told the media that she arrived at the party after it ended merely to pick up a friend too drunk to drive, but police say that students and parents at the party claim that Cox had been there much longer, and that only parents drove the students home.
One person even posted a screenshot of Cox’s Facebook timeline in which other attendees claim to have video of Cox “puking into a trashcan.”
Although someone writing on behalf of Cox in that thread claims that the other attendees are lying, it should be noted that the defense fund set up for her, “The Erin Cox Fund,” is no longer accepting — and may in fact be returning — donations. A letter to contributors on the site now reads:
Thank you all for your generousity to the Erin Cox Fund. I have been informed by Erin’s mother that she would like your donations to go to MADD or to the charity of your choice. “Go Fund Me” is a great tool for donating to noble causes, however I have learned that the Erin Cox story is still developing and I believe it is best to refund all donations at this time.
Like all of you, I wanted to do something good for a student that seemed to be unfairly treated by her high school. This fund is something that I would have created for anyone in need of social justice. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your incredible generousity. At this time, it is best to accept the refund and if the Erin Cox story still interests you please follow the North Andover Citizen online.
Cox had retained the widely known victim’s rights attorney Wendy Murphy, but when contacted by Raw Story, she could not be reached for comment.
UPDATE, 5:00 p.m. EST: The Valley-Patriot published a statement Tuesday afternoon retracting its story that Cox was in court earlier in the day.
“The Valley Patriot has since learned that this information was false,” editor/publisher Tom Duggan wrote. “Cox did not appear in court this morning and sources at the court say she was not slated to appear with the other students who were cited for underage drinking in Boxford earlier this month.”
Cox’s attorney, Wendy Murphy, also criticized the Valley Patriot’s reporting in an interview with Westford Patch, saying, “That paper didn’t even contact me.” She also issued a separate statement ripping the allegations against the teen.
“Silly claims meant to distract public attention and insulate the North Andover School District from shame will not be dignified,” Murphy said in her statement. “The statement of a police officer at the scene was provided in court and to North Andover school officials making it very clear that Erin Cox did not have even the ‘slightest’ odor of alcohol, had not been drinking, had no intention of drinking and was at the party to help a friend.”