Seattle’s most famous masked crusader, Phoenix Jones, is now an unemployed superhero after he was let go from his job teaching life skills to autistic kids, and told by the state that he is no longer allowed to work with vulnerable children or adults following his arrest last month, PubliCola has learned.
“I had to leave work in the middle of the day,” Jones says. “It was embarrassing.”
Jones explained that he has worked with five developmentally disabled autistic children—who ranged in age from four to 18 years old—for the last five years at their homes and state care facilities, going shopping with them, teaching them to balance checkbooks, and going for walks.
Jones’ latest troubles come weeks after he was arrested by Seattle police for allegedly pepper spraying a group of men and women near Pioneer Square. Jones claims he was breaking up a fight, but police arrested him for assault. Following a court appearance in the case, Jones revealed his secret identity as 23-year-old mixed martial arts fighter Ben Fodor.
Prosecutors have not filed charges for the incident, and a spokeswoman for the city attorney’s office says the case is still being investigated.
Last week, Jones received a letter from the state Department of Social and Health Services, informing him he is no longer allowed to work with kids. PubliCola was not able to determine exactly why DSHS disqualified Jones from working with kids, but it appears to be due to his pending assault case.
When contacted for a comment, Jones said he had been advised not to speak extensively about the circumstances of his apparent termination, but confirmed he was no longer able to work with autistic children.
“They all knew I was Phoenix Jones,” he says.
Jones says that because of his arrest, he’s on “a list” that prohibits him from working with children, because he has “a history of interjecting myself into situations that are dangerous.”
Jones, naturally, disputes that characterization. “I would say I have a history of fighting crime,” he says. “The whole point of what I do is to keep people safe.”
Jones isn’t sure how he’ll pay the bills now. He says he’s received offers for fight bouts from the Strikeforce mixed martial arts organization, and plans to start fighting crime in the daytime, in addition to his night patrols around Seattle. Other than that, he says, “I really don’t know.”