I've never met him, and everything I know about him is second hand or third-hand apart from some old audiotapes of his teachings I have someplace, which were helpful to me as a beginner (when people still listened to audiotapes). The backstory I alluded to was from before 1996, when Jiyu Kennett was still alive.
I think the material quoted below is of interest in understanding Little's conduct, his intentions, and so on... and how those were received by the institution he led for so long. from here:
Announcement to the Congregation
We have made it a tradition here at Shasta Abbey that, on the day before Wesak, during the Wesak vigil ceremony, the abbot of Shasta Abbey rededicates him/herself to leading the Community as abbot for another year. This tradition was begun by Rev. Master in the latter part of her life, and I have continued the practice up until the present time. I am sorry to tell you that I will not be performing that ceremony this year, and that I will be resigning as abbot here and leaving the Abbey to return to secular life.
This decision has been ripening for me for many years now. My reasons for leaving center around the fact that, while I have profound respect for the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, I also have profound and respectful disagreement with the Order which I feel is irreconcilable. Because maintaining harmony in the sangha is so important, I feel my best course is to leave now and preserve the harmony of the Sangha rather than remain and risk creating conflict, dissension, and disharmony. Presently, this disagreement is not a charged situation or a conflict because I have tried to be discrete about how I feel, and I have neither expressed my concern to the Community here nor to the Order in such a way that it might provoke a conflict. No one has asked me to leave, and I have broken no rules that would require me to resign as abbot here, leave the Abbey, or leave the Order. In fact, I have received a lot encouragement to stay and try to work things out.
It has become painfully clear to me that I see the policies, prodedures, decision-making process, and direction of the Order very differently than most, if not all, of my friends and colleagues. While I am assured that my concerns and differences can be worked out in our present environment and through our present procedures, I have to respectfully say that I am unable to accept this. I do not see the process in place or the environment for being able to effectively voice, communicate, discuss, or resolve my concerns.
I do not believe that the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives should, would, or could make itself over to my liking. I am one person among 100, and we decide major issues through consensus. The reality of living in a monastic community based on consensus is, if someone cannot live with others in agreement and harmony, that person has the responsibility to either change their views or leave. I have made a sincere attempt to change my views, but am unsuccessful. So, it is better that I go now with the harmony of the Sangha preserved, rather than later after causing a great conflict and having to leave as a result of rending and harming the Harmony of the Sangha.
I am not at odds with Rev. Master Haryo, the OBC director. We have known each other for many years and we have a cordial relationship. I am not accusing the Order of moral/perceptual breakdown. I am not leaving because there is some kind of nasty cover-up or scandal that has occurred. The OBC is full of very fine people who are training very hard and doing their best in Buddhist practice. I regard many of them as better trainees than I am, and perhaps my actions show how poor a trainee I am.
I have been told that if I want to really preserve harmony, I should simply leave saying that I have personal problems and do nothing that is going to implicate the Order’s reputation, as this is going to create doubt, suspicion, mistrust, or disharmony. I want to say here categorically that I am not implicating anyone in anything. I am not trying to cause doubt, dissension, or disharmony; I hope for discussion, constructive discussion, which will deepen faith, find areas of agreement, and create deeper harmony. That is what I want.
And I have to say to all of you, and I include the monastic community in this – is this what you would want? Would you want me to just walk away saying I have personal problems, I have to leave, and that’s it? I am not trying to implicate anyone in anything, other than to say that I believe that we have some problems, they need acknowledgement, they need to be worked on in a constructive and harmonious way, and I hope that happens. It is clear that I – quite possibly through my personal failings - am not going to be part of that solution. I take responsibility for that and accept it.
In order to understand fully why I am choosing this route, even if that were possible, you would have see what I see through my eyes and perceptions. Of course that’s impossible, because we each see conditions in a different way from each other. I owe it to you to tell you at least what I am telling you. I owe it to the Buddhadharma to practice Right Speech. And I owe it to my teacher, who took on the entire Soto Sect and the prejudices of history, to do and act as she felt was true. Compared to her, I am nothing, and I do not in any way compare what I am doing with what she did. However, she did teach me to never shrink from saying what one feels to be true, and never allow the potential misunderstandings of others to prevent me from speaking when speaking is necessary. I feel that it is necessary, here and now, and I hope that you receive in the spirit I am offering it.
I have already drawn criticism that I am acting childishly, spitefully, selfishly, irresponsibly, stupidly, and harmfully. One person has called it soap opera, a superficial production with the intention of harming others. I will take all those criticisms and look at them over the course of the years. There may be some truth to some of them – after all, I am an ordinary sentient being, and capable of great folly. I cannot prevent anyone from misunderstanding what I am saying or doing; all I do is to say, “Please hear my words; this is what is true for me.”
I am not unhappy with the Abbey, the Community, or you, the congregation. I love this place and all of you very deeply. I am well-loved, well-supported, and – these are my words – spoiled rotten. I have spent the majority of my life here; this is a huge change for me; I never conceived this decision to be one that I would have to make. But here it is, and this is what I am going to do. I feel very sad to leave and, needless to say, the community of Shasta Abbey does not want me to go.
It is impossible for me to remain the abbot of a monastery and a monastic teacher when I cannot wholeheartedly support the policies and procedures of the Order. I do not blame anyone for this decision; it is my own, and I make it freely. This is my view, not a great moral conflict with the Order. I wish to remain on good terms with the Shasta Abbey Community as well as with the OBC Community at large. And before my deepening sense of disagreement and disaffection grows any farther, I feel it is best for all concerned if I leave now in a state of honorable and respectful difference of view, rather than soldier on and run the risk of creating more harm.
Transitions like this are very difficult. I ask that you all root yourselves in your practice; please continue to support the Abbey and our larger OBC community, and just absorb and accept both my decision and its consequences. Please do not let my decision cause you to doubt your practice, our community, or the Order. This is my decision, I make it voluntarily, and no one has forced me to do so. In fact, many people have tried to talk me out of it. Although this is probably the most painful decision of my life so far, I still feel that it is the best – the right -decision for me. I have considered it for a long, long time. Although I am emotional now about it because I am so sad, it is not a decision I have made precipitately or without a great amount of thought and consideration.
I have turned over the day-to-day decisions to the Vice-Abbess, RM Meian. I will not be performing ceremonies, giving teaching, or giving counseling. I am not disappearing, but you may not see me as often as you might otherwise do so. I do not know when I will be leaving, but I assume it will be sometime between 1-2 months. I do not know exactly where I will be going or what I will be doing, but I do know that I wish to continue to return here to visit my spiritual home and family, and especially to pay my respects to Rev. Master’s stupa. Shasta Abbey will remain central in my heart for the rest of my life, and I am determined to continue my Buddhist religious life and practice.
The monastery will continue on. The monks are supporting each other and their training will help support you all, and vice-versa. There will be an election, a new induction, a conclave, and a celebration of our 40th anniversary. Life will go on. Abbots come and go, monastics come and go, congregation members come and go. This monastery is bigger than one person; it can hold all the changes that will occur, and it will continue abide here as long as the community holds together in harmony. You are part of this community; please continue, support each other, support the monastery, support the Order. It’s all one body, and it’s much bigger than any one person.
I now ask for your prayers, your support, you compassion and understanding. I have tried to do my best here; I have had some successes and some failures, but at least I was able to lead the community through the difficult transition from Rev. Master’s death to a new period of activity and prosperity. I believe that the Abbey, the monastic community, the OBC, and all of you will continue to go forward in this way. It cannot happen without your faith, your training, and your support. I ask that you continue to give all that so that the monastery may remain the same kind of place for others as it has been for us. To me, it is an island of light, and this world needs as many islands of light as it can hold. For all our sakes, please help us to remain here for many years to come. Thank you and bless you all."
It seems to me that his departure was an admission that he was incapable of bringing about the kinds of institutional, procedural, or even cultural changes that he wanted to put forward in the OBC. So he left to avoid a split in the sangha. I don't think this is at bottom a "sex scandal" or an abuse scandal, although it became one later.
Little was not allowed to leave on his own terms, as the above material outlined. He was shown the door instead. As near as I can see, sexuality and not the direction of the institution became the rationale for that decision.
I dunno. The thread I linked above is worth reading in its entirety.