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Chad Little: High school athletic director sued after alleged 'sexual grooming'

FILE- Chad Little was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual battery. (Photo: Fairfield County Jail)
FILE- Chad Little was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual battery. (Photo: Fairfield County Jail)
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Several weeks after its athletic director was charged with the sexual battery of a student, the Bloom-Carroll School District has been sued in connection to the allegations.

The Bloom-Carroll Local School District, its Board of Education, Superintendent Shawn Haughn, Athletic Director Chad Little and several other school administrators are named in the 10-count lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Little was placed on unpaid leave after he was first charged in the case last month, Haughn said in a statement to ABC6 on Wednesday.

The complaint lists out numerous allegations against Little that date back to 2013, claiming he "engaged in an ongoing pattern of sexual grooming of" former Bloom-Carroll basketball player Makenzee Mason.

"The abuse continued for over two years, during which Mason was under the age of 18," the lawsuit read. "Bloom-Carroll administrators had multiple prior notices and complaints about Little's inappropriate behavior and interactions with students."

Typically, news outlets don't name victims or survivors of abuse, but Mason's name and even her photo are included in the lawsuit. She also issued a statement in the lawsuit, which you can read below. ABC6 has decided to use her name but not her photograph.

The Ohio Department of Education also was named in the complaint, which alleges:

+ In 2013, the district, local law enforcement and the state DOE received complaints about Little's "inappropriate text messaging with student-athletes" and "inappropriate relationships" and "abusive behavior."

+ In 2015, the district was notified again of "inappropriate text messages Little sent to students, including messages in which Little offered to supply alcohol."

+ In 2017, the BOE was notified of Little "being out in public, at dinner alone with individual female students, including photographs of inappropriate behavior with the students."

+ In 2018, the DOE was notified that Little "had a minor female student living in his private home."

+ In 2019, the DOE was notified that Little "was involved in text messaging a female student, and the text messages indicated a possible physical relationship between the two."

+ In 2021, multiple verbal reports were made to Haughn about Little's "inappropriate behavior with students, which Haughn dismissed as rumors."

Haughn shared his lengthy statement with ABC6 late Wednesday afternoon, saying the district is "sickened by these charges."

"When the District receives a report of potential misconduct by a staff member, the District promptly and thoroughly investigates each report," he continued. "Investigations that may involve sexual harassment or abuse are investigated consistent with federal law and specifically by the Title IX coordinator. Additionally, the District also reports to the appropriate outside agencies, which can include children services and/or law enforcement, and the Ohio Department of Education."

Nelson has requested a response from Little's defense attorney, whose office said "no comment." She also is awaiting a reply from the Ohio Department of Education.

Mason, now a basketball player at Bethany College in West Virginia, issued this statement in the lawsuit:

"First and foremost, my heart goes out to the survivors whose voices were silenced by people that held the power. I stand with you, I am in your corner, and the cycle breaks now. I found my voice to bring light to the abuses and hope I can inspire others to do the same. Nothing will ever make up for the time, memories, and experiences I missed out on, but I can only pray that time will start to heal the wounds that people no longer see."

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