Ex-Student-Athlete Sues Bloom-Carroll Over Former AD's Alleged Abuse | Athletic Business

Ex-Student-Athlete Sues Bloom-Carroll Over Former AD's Alleged Abuse

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Bloom-Carroll High School, where Chad Little had served as athletic director for 17 years despite recent accusations of sexual misconduct, is now the target of a lawsuit filed by a former girls' basketball player at the center of those accusations.

As reported by The Columbus Dispatch, the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus alleges the school district did nothing to protect her from ongoing sexual abuse by LIttle. The Ohio Department of Education is also named as a defendant in the suit.

The student-athlete played for Little between 2018 and 2020, according to the lawsuit, and was targeted for "sexual grooming" by Little for more than two years, the Dispatch reported.

Little was arrested Sept. 20 and charged with sexual battery., and immediately placed on leave. He entered a not guilty plea to the charges.

Related: Prep AD Charged With Sexual Batter of Then-Athlete

The lawsuit also accuses the Bloom-Carroll Local School District of being aware of allegations of misconduct by Little and doing nothing to protect student-athletes, particularly those he coached on the girls' basketball team.

Bloom-Carroll Local Schools superintendent Shawn Haughn, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, said in a statement Wednesday that the school district "promptly and thoroughly investigates" reports of sexual assault or abuse.

"All of us work in education because we care about children," Haughn said, as reported by the Dispatch. "We’re sickened by these charges. We are cooperating — and will continue to cooperate — with law enforcement in every way possible to see that justice is done."

According to the Dispatch review of the lawsuit, the woman said Little spent "an inordinate amount of time" with her, including inviting her to his home, privately communicating with her and asking about her personal life.

"Little's grooming ... was so open and obvious that other BCHS students and staff believed there was a physical relationship between the two of them," the lawsuit said. "Little was even questioned by other basketball players about Little's grooming and abuse."

The relationship became "overtly sexual" in 2018, when Little engaged in "inappropriate physical contact" with the woman while on a team bus returning from a basketball game. Contact continued in his office after games, and the lawsuit accuses Little of being physically violent during the sexual encounters.

The lawsuit alleges that Little would tell the student-athlete that "if anyone found out what they were doing, 'I will go to jail,' 'I will lose my kids,' and 'I will kill myself'," the Dispatch reported.

Following his arrest, information came to light that showed Little had been involved in a 2020 Ohio Department of Education consent agreement, involving training on sexual boundaries and community service, to avoid being suspended.

RelatedAD in Bloom-Carroll Battery Case Previously Faced Suspension

According to the lawsuit, Bloom-Carroll administrators first became aware of allegations against Little in 2013, when they received complaints about Little inappropriately texting student-athletes. The school reprimanded Little and directed him to stop texting individual athletes or risk losing his position as coach.

Similar complaints of inappropriate texting surfaced just two years later

The Dispatch is not naming the woman because she is a victim of sexual abuse.

That same year, both Bloom-Carroll and the ODE were alerted to complaints, as well as Carroll police and the Fairfield County Sheriff's office. Law enforcement made the district aware of the complaints, according to the lawsuit.

Two years later, in 2015, the school district again received complaints about Little inappropriately texting students, according to the lawsuit, including messages where Little offered to provide alcohol for students.

Additional allegations followed in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021.

Haughn was supposedly told about Little's inappropriate behavior in 2021, and Haughn responded by calling the reports "rumors," according to information provided to the Dispatch by Leeseburg Tuttle, who is representing the woman who filed the lawsuit.

"As the superintendent and father of three daughters that attend school in the district, the safety and wellbeing of our students is my top priority," Haughn said in a statement.

The high school's principal and vice principal, and the district's school board and district Title IX coordinator, are also named as defendants.

The former student-athlete provided her own statement, saying her heart goes out to survivors whose voices were silenced, the Dispatch reported.

"I stand with you, I am in your corner and the cycle breaks now," the woman said. "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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