Erin Cox Owes North Andover an Apology – Valley Patriot Editorial (Nov. 2013)

Former North Andover High School volleyball captain Erin Cox claimed she was being suspended from the team and lost her captaincy because of a “zero tolerance policy” at North Andover High, after being caught at an underage drinking party.

She claimed she was only there “to give a drunk friend a ride home.”

She also claimed, through her mom and attorney, that she was the victim of sexism, an out of control school administration, and a campaign of “lies” against her.

Of course, Cox, her mom, and attorney were able to say all this on national TV, knowing that school officials were legally unable to dispute any claims being made because, you see … Erin Cox is a minor.

If school administrators had disputed any of Cox’s bogus claims they would surely lose a lawsuit for violating the privacy of a minor. Yet with no proof, in fact, with no evidence at all to show that Erin Cox’s “story” had any validity, national TV, radio and print news ran with her version of the story without even making a phone call to verify what they were reporting.

If they had, they would have found out what North Andover Patch’s Bryan McGonigle found out; North Andover doesn’t have a “zero tolerance policy”.

Yet, Attorney Wendy Murphy and the Cox family fueled that story of Erin’s victimhood for over a week on national TV.

We find that awfully convenient … and somewhat disgusting.

Especially after we learned last week that Erin Cox plead guilty in Lawrence District Court of not only being in possession of alcohol at an underage drinking party in Boxford … but also consuming it. (see story)

She also admits in her confession that she was at the party more than an hour before police officers showed up.

Cox agreed to enroll in a “diversion program” where she has to take mandatory programs and perform community service.

We also learned that it was Boxford Police Officer Brian Neeley who charged her for the offense of ‘minor in possession of alcohol’; something Wendy Murphy said was “a lie”.

Neeley was the officer who wrote an email to the North Andover officials saying Erin had not been drinking.

Witnesses in the courthouse that day tell The Valley Patriot that Erin Cox showed up with an attorney, but that attorney was not Wendy Murphy.

This bogus national story was nothing more than a hoax perpetrated on the news media to affect public opinion and embarrass high school Principal Scuzzarella so she would change her decision.

We believe that Erin Cox owes an apology to North Andover High School Principal Scuzzarella, North Andover School Administrators, and indeed the entire Town of North Andover for bringing such negative attention to the town and the school system under false pretenses.

We also believe an apology is owed to the other students at that party who were not treated “special” and had to be arraigned together while Erin Cox was allowed to avoid the press, pretend she wasn’t part of all this, and then quietly plead guilty on another day… a day she THOUGHT the press was not paying attention.

We were.

And we now know the truth.

The question is, will Erin Cox be the “hero” she was portrayed to be on TV, and actually do the right thing here? Will she do what a “good kid” would do by coming clean and publicly apologizing?

THAT is something we would expect from a “good kid”. It would make Erin Cox a real hero, someone whom younger kids could look up to … and someone worthy of a $500 Valley Patriot scholarship.



The Valley Patriot is a free monthly print newspaper serving Northern Massachusetts, and Southern New Hampshire. The print edition is published by the 10th of each month and is distributed to 51 cities and towns.

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41 Responses to Erin Cox Owes North Andover an Apology – Valley Patriot Editorial (Nov. 2013)

  1. Pingback: Erin Cox Confesses to Drinking at Underage Party That Gained National Attention – The History of a Bogus Media Story That Never Happened | The Valley Patriot

  2. Martin Jarmulowicz Reply

    November 15, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    It’s a lie that got out of hand. She is a teenager and not fully grown or mentally developed. I hope this added pressure and embarrassment has her do the right thing and apologize to the town, but I hope it doesn’t have the negative effect of her harming herself in anyway, then any blood would be on the Patriot.

    • Tom Duggan

      Tom Duggan Reply

      November 20, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      Martin, let me see if I am following your reasoning.
      The Cox family went to the press and lied.
      They hired a media lawyer to make this a national story.
      They told the media a set of facts that WE investigated and found our was not true.
      And if Erin does something to herself that makes it OUR fault?
      Not the fault of her mom who made her daughter a NATIONAL household name?
      Not the attorney who fed the media a “zero tolerance” lie?
      Not the media who reported on a story without ONCE verifying what they were reporting?

      Do I have that right?

    • Jay Reply

      December 3, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      The more we excuse this behavior the worse it will get. She is old enough to know right from wrong, truth from fiction.

      • Xosgul Reply

        December 6, 2013 at 7:47 AM

        Jay, this is not a little girl’s lie. This is a family’s immoral attack on a school and educators. The mom especially needs to apologize publicly for unleashing a rag-a-muffin ambulance chaser on a school and educators.

      • Xosgul Reply

        December 6, 2013 at 8:12 AM

        Jay, my bad, that response was directed at another. Cheers.

  3. NAParent Reply

    November 15, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    I agree. The biggest story here is that a teenager made a mistake (hey, news! teens make mistakes!), and that far too many adults in charge of more important things (who should have known better) invited many more adults to make worse mistakes by rushing to judgment based on an internet game of telephone. Scary. That’s the only story I get from this.

  4. Wendy Murphy's Sahara vag Reply

    November 15, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    Foxy Coxy is a lying sac of shit. Wendy Murphy is a slitherin snake ho.

  5. hamptonhistory Reply

    November 16, 2013 at 4:39 AM

    I hope this was indeed written by a high schooler. Otherwise, it’s just embarrassing, much like the concept of “zero tolerance” itself.

    • Xosgul Reply

      July 7, 2014 at 4:13 PM

      I think your mom wrote it.

  6. Stanley Feldman Reply

    November 16, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    So, is North Andover going to raid the Passover Seders where there is sure to be underage drinking from some of the 4 cups of wine?

    • Tom Duggan

      Tom Duggan Reply

      November 20, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      The real story here is that the national media reported on a story without picking up the phone and verifying ONE fact that they were reporting. I agree with those who say she is just a teen age kid who lied, like most kids lie when they get in trouble, but if she and her family had not recruited the national media to TELL their lie it wouldn’t be a story at all.

  7. jay Reply

    November 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    The blood will be on the Patriot? Really? For doing what? Reporting the truth and vindicating a principal? Grow up. Yeah, the kid made a mistake, she’s young, and I’m sure she’ll have a tough go of it for the rest of the academic year just in terms of the peer abuse alone. And I don’t wish that on any young person. But the parents and lawyer and national media should be ashamed and should be exposed. And yes, Stanley, NA is going to raid Seders. Because that’s obviously a comparable situation, right? Simpleton.

  8. Alice S.A. Reply

    November 16, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    I agree with Jay: if anything were to happen to Erin (God forbid), that would be on the Cox family’s opportunistic lawyer and every news outlet who ran with a sensationalized and fake story. That’s where our ire should be directed, NOT at the one newspaper that had the courage and integrity to report the truth.

  9. Chris Reply

    November 17, 2013 at 6:32 AM

    That is all ridiculous. The kid lied. The mom lied. They should be ashamed, embarrassed and completely humiliated. It never would have gotten out of control without the initial lie to her parents. Shame on all of them. Apologize and admit you were wrong.

  10. putupjob Reply

    November 18, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    Hey, I’ll admit it, she had me conned.
    She’s just a rotten, spoiled liar and she got just what she deserved.
    She should be handed additional penalties for being such a liar.

  11. Gern Reply

    November 18, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Attorney Wendy Murphy is the equivalent of an ambulance chaser but she thinks she is helping by chasing down “Woman’s Issues” . The problem is she lets her cries for an unfairly treated woman get in the way the facts. If she had bothered researching any of the facts before she went to the press crying foul, she would lot be looking like the fool she is today.

  12. Semper Fi Reply

    November 18, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Congrats to the new Captain that replaced the fraud Erin….. I hope Erin has an aunt or uncle that can coach her about life because her parents are frauds also.
    Semper Fi guy…

    • Stanley Feldman Reply

      November 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      I believe in Redemption. This is a learning opportunity that does need to destroy Erin Cox.

  13. Steve Keenan Reply

    November 18, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    We have all made mistakes in our lives. If this youg girl and others can learn from it, then something positive has come out of this. I am sure that Erin will do some soul-searching and do the right thing. God forgives;we should too.

    As for Wendy Murphy, I will say nothing because if you can’t say something nice about someone, it’s best to remain silent. Let’s all move on.

    Steve Keenan
    North Andover

    • U dog Reply

      February 16, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      Thank you

  14. NAParent Reply

    November 19, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Again, I agree. She’s a young girl who didn’t originally mean to harm anyone. I doubt she understood in the first place what was happening with her parents and lawyers. To me, it’s obvious she did not, I’ve seen the screen caps with her peers that clearly weren’t copied to her parents or attorney. Any parent of a kid who has made a mistake gets it.

  15. Pingback: Erin Cox, Part 5: Resolution? | Stately McDaniel Manor

  16. joe bryant Reply

    November 23, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    You need to identify your sources

  17. Xosgul Reply

    December 1, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Erin is just a kid. Her mom and lawyer, however, can’t blame their disgusting behavior on their age. Her mother sounds like a horrible person. Good luck, Erin.

  18. Alice Walker Reply

    December 3, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Lying was a bad decision. Losing Wendy Murphy was a good decision. Let’s let the whole thing rest now and wish Erin well. She honestly isn’t responsible for Wendy Murphy and her campaign to become the next Nancy Grace.

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  20. Patrick Brown Reply

    December 14, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Written October 20, 2013

    Slow down people. There are multiple sides to every story. You are getting one version of a story and jumping all over the school district who had to investigate and listen to many stories. Yes all student-athletes sign a school district activity code that holds them accountable to standards. These are drafted and approved by publicly elected school board members. If you don’t agree with it then don’t sign the code. If you don’t like the code then elect new school board members and encourage them to draft a different set of codes. Since kids and their parents (yes parents) lie to me all of the time about breaking the code, I would just as soon not have to deal with it. Let student-athletes attend parties and/or drink. Since kids and their parents are willing to break the rules, then lie to me about it on top of that, then why do we need to play this charade? I am puzzled why ESPN picks up this story and runs with it without all of the facts. Oh yeah, school districts are bound by FEDERAL AND STATE PRIVACY LAWS and don’t share PRIVATE information about your child with the news media or anyone else! (And be thankful for that.) That’s why the Athletic Director did not return the phone calls to the almighty ESPN. As an Athletic Director myself, I would not have returned ESPN’s phone calls either! In this case the mother gets a national platform where she gets to cry in front of the camera and talk about her “fragile” daughter. The school district is legally restricted in responding, so the mother seems supported in her position because the district won’t respond. Did it ever occur to anyone that the girl and the mother might be distorting the truth for their own benefit? And why did the mother not go to the party to pick up the drunk friend, instead, since it sounds like the daughter told her mom what she was doing? How many of you parents send your kid to a party where you know there is drinking, and potentially drunk drivers leaving, to pick up a drunk friend? There is much more to this story and it is unfortunate that the school district and Athletic Director are demonized by ESPN without the ability to tell their side of it. The mother and ESPN also failed to mention that there is an appeal process for all suspensions. Why omit that fact? Oh yeah, because in appealing you would have to revisit the facts in front of the school board. By going to ESPN you get to tell any story that supports your agenda without anyone questioning it. Two things become very clear in this story and this whole discussion. One, ESPN has no journalistic integrity. And two, social media has really lowered our capacity to think critically. It would be refreshing to have parents supporting schools instead of showing up with lawyers or TV cameras to challenge schools for holding their child accountable to a code they signed. In that way we could partner to teach valuable life lessons. Instead, we send the message that if you are held accountable for something that you agree to by signing it, you can simply go to ESPN and make the school district look like the villain when they hold you accountable. Now msnbc chimes in and again the school district can’t comment due to privacy laws. The commentator goes on to chastise the school district without confirming any facts. She even goes on to say that even if the school district doesn’t over turn their decision, the parents have accomplished the goal of clearing up any question of their daughter’s character. In doing so, the parents have helped their daughter in the college application and scholarship process by exposing the truth about their daughter’s actions. What the msnbc commentator fails to understand is that this girls case was an athletic department issue only and would never reflect on her academic record. Furthermore, it was a CONFIDENTIAL issue that would have remained so if the parents had not chosen to engage a reactionary media. I guess it is the world in which we live. It now seems that anyone can go viral and get a national platform telling their subjective tale. The Boston Herald, ESPN and msnbc should be ashamed of running with this half story.

  21. Anonymous J-san Reply

    January 21, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    In the end, North Andover and Erin Cox are a lying sack of shit.

  22. U dog Reply

    February 16, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    No this is all fricking fake Kay Erin is a fricking hero so you are a liar !!!!

  23. Denise Reply

    May 25, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    You guys ever think that perhaps Erin lied to her lawyer and her mother and that’s why they backed her? As a mother myself… I back my children up and if they ever lie it would never happen again. Erin will grow up hopefully and I’m sure her mom is pretty pist at her!

    • Tom Duggan

      Tom Duggan Reply

      May 26, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      Denise, how did you find this story? We are getting a lot of hits the last few days and I am wondering where they are coming from.

  24. Billy Reply

    May 26, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    Pretty vindictive stuff here and all in the writing style of a thirteen year old. Grade A journalism Tom.

  25. Tom Duggan

    Tom Duggan Reply

    May 26, 2014 at 7:43 PM

    vindictive? please explain

  26. Brenda Reply

    May 26, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    I can’t believe you people. This is why stories get mixed up and blown out of proportion. You all take and put into this what you want. He said she said doesn’t work. I bet not one of you have the whole story right. And why would a person go and write that they hope she doesn’t do something to herself. You are adding fuel to the fire and putting thoughts in people’s heads. I would say that if she would do anything to herself over this that the blame should be on the person that brought that up. I think you people like all the drama. A big problem with things like this is that you can’t mind your own business. I am not saying she is right or wrong and I am not saying the parents or attorney is right or wrong. But I am saying that I would bet that everyone of you shooting off your mouths have did things wrong that you aren’t proud of or have things from your past that no one knows about. You should all get the facts straight before you say anything including the parents, or better yet don’t say anything at all. You really only make yourselves look stupid. You are all making enemies of each other. Life is too short to do crap like this and then have peoples lifes turned upside down. I know someone will come back with stupid comments to me, but I was just saying what I was observing. I hope that you all can resolve this soon.

    • Xosgul Reply

      July 7, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      You’re right Brenda. It’s not Erin’s and her mom’s fault that they lied and had people from around the globe criticizing the school system. It’s our fault. Thank you.

  27. kms Reply

    May 27, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    brenda you are a true parent! everyone else just get over it!

  28. veronica Reply

    May 27, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    Tom, just fyi, i found your article posted in comments section of the pitty party story about erin on facebook. Lots of people commenting that erin lied and links to your article. probably just going viral again. I only read it because someone on my friends list “liked” it therefore it was on my news feed.

  29. Tom Duggan

    Tom Duggan Reply

    May 27, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    THANKS can you post that link?

  30. Tom Duggan

    Tom Duggan Reply

    May 27, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    sounds like a page I should be reading

  31. Sabrian Epps (@SabrianEpps) Reply

    July 7, 2014 at 3:35 AM

    I got here from buzzfeed….

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