See an earlier report on Chad Little in the player above.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A former athletic director convicted of sexual battery is about to become permanently ineligible to teach in Ohio.
As the State Board of Education meets Tuesday, it is scheduled to vote on nearly a dozen license revocations for teachers, aides and principals – including the licenses of Chad Little, who pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual battery in January. According to board meeting materials, Little submitted a voluntary license surrender to the board on March 9, the same day he was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.
Little, 45, was arrested last September after he was accused of sexually abusing a student at Bloom-Carroll High School, where he worked, over a period of two-and-a-half years. The abuse started in March 2018, when the student, Makenzee Mason, was a sophomore and athlete under Little’s authority, Fairfield County Prosecutor Kyle Witt said at Little’s sentencing.
NBC4 does not normally name victims of sexual violence, but Mason consented to have her identity disclosed.
As part of Little’s license surrender, all pending license applications will be denied – and he will be forever barred from educator licensure in the state. According to the Ohio Department of Education, Little holds the following licenses, originally set to expire June 30:
- 5-year Professional High School License for teaching history
- 5-year Professional Intervention Specialist (K-12) License
- 5-year Professional Principal License for Pre-K through grade 12
- 5-year Professional Superintendent License
- 5-year Pupil Activity Permit for coaching
Craig Tuttle, one of Mason’s attorneys, said in a statement that he was happy to see Little’s license surrender.
“This man is clearly a danger to young and impressionable students, and has no business being anywhere in or around a school ever again,” Tuttle said. “We only wish that the Ohio Department of Education had taken action sooner to protect students, including Makenzee, from his continued abuse and inappropriate behavior over the past two decades.”
Bloom-Carroll district officials did not respond to a request for comment.
Little coached the girls basketball team at Bloom-Carroll until the end of the 2018-19 season, according to a civil complaint against Little and school administrators. He was Mason’s coach when he began a campaign of “aggressive grooming,” the complaint stated, including frequent private calls and texts and invitations to his private residence.
After building rapport with Mason, who was 16 and 17 at the time, Little then escalated the abuse to physical and sexual encounters, the complaint claimed, including in his office after games. He frequently used violence to force the athlete to commit sexual acts, and he threatened suicide if she reported him.
At Little’s sentencing, Mason read a victim impact statement detailing the lasting harm Little’s abuse has caused her.
“Something in me started to die that day. Every single day since, I’ve been dying, but today I get to take a piece of my life back,” Mason said. “I’m sharing my hardships so the others know I struggled too, and it’s OK to have hard days. I am no superwoman for speaking here today, but I hope there is peace in my strength.”
The civil suit argued that school administrators were aware of Little’s proclivity for inappropriate contact with students, citing his previous sanctions for his private messages to students. The suit outlines more than a half dozen complaints made against Little to the district and Ohio Department of Education from 2013 to 2019, including claims of Little being seen alone in public with students and that a student was living at his home.
The stated threatened Little with license suspension in 2020 after it investigated reports of Little’s inappropriate communication with students, but it waived the suspension as long as he completed community service and “training on professional boundaries,” according to his personnel record.
Mason’s attorneys further argued that school officials and the state education department were aware – or should have been aware – of allegations Little was abusing her due to multiple reports of the abuse, but both the district and state department failed to adequately investigate, nor did the state follow through on its threat to suspend Little’s license if it caught whiff of future misconduct.
“Little’s grooming of Makenzee was so open and obvious that other BCHS students and staff believed there was a physical relationship between the two of them,” the civil suit stated. “Little was even questioned by other basketball players about Little’s grooming and abuse of Makenzee.”
In their response, attorneys for the district admitted that district officials were aware of several reports about Little’s misconduct but denied they inadequately handled those complaints. The Ohio Department of Education was originally named in the suit, but it was removed after it failed to respond to the complaint.
The civil complaint, which was paused during criminal proceedings against Little, is in the discovery phase, with expert discovery due in May and all other evidence due to the court in December.
Little resigned from the district in November while he was on unpaid leave. Upon release, he will be registered as a sex offender for life, as required by Ohio law for sexual battery convictions.