Atlantic City mayor, school superintendent wife charged with abusing teen daughter

Prosecutors say the charges stem from incidents that happened during December 2023 and January 2024.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Attorney says AC mayor, superintendent wife are both innocent
Attorney says Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small, superintendent wife La'Quetta Small are both innocent

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The mayor of Atlantic City and his wife, the superintendent of the city's school district, have been charged with "physically and emotionally abusing" their teenage daughter, the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office said Monday.

Mayor Marty Small Sr. and Atlantic City Public Schools Superintendent La'Quetta Small are both charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Mayor Small was additionally charged with third-degree terroristic threats, third-degree aggravated assault, and disorderly persons simple assault.

Superintendent Small was additionally charged with three separate counts of disorderly persons simple assault.

Prosecutors say the charges stem from incidents that happened during December 2023 and January 2024.

According to investigators, Mayor Small allegedly hit his daughter multiple times in the head with a broom, knocking her out.

In another alleged incident, Mayor Small threatened to hurt the teen during an argument. The alleged threats included "earth slamming" the girl down the stairs, grabbing her head and throwing her to the ground, and "smacking the weave out of her head."

Then, in yet another alleged incident, Mayor Small is accused of punching his daughter repeatedly in the legs, bruising her.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small addresses what he calls 'rumors' after home search

Superintendent Small is accused of punching her daughter multiple times in the chest, leaving bruises.

In another alleged incident, she is accused of dragging her daughter by her hair, then striking her with a belt on her shoulder, leaving marks.

In yet another incident, La'Quetta Small is accused of punching her daughter in the mouth during an argument.

Both Smalls were issued summonses with the charges against them.

When asked for comment, Mayor Small told Action News he wanted to comment but couldn't, then referred us to his attorney, Ed Jacobs.

Jacobs emphasized that the charges focus on family issues, saying, "The charges filed today by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office make no claims of public corruption or failure by Mayor Small to discharge his duties as mayor."

On Tuesday, Jacobs released a statement, which reads in part, "He and his wife La'Quetta and their two children remain a close and loving and intact family. Mayor Small and Superintendent LaQuetta Small are completely innocent of any wrongdoing and will ultimately be vindicated."

City Council members did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday, nor did anyone from the Atlantic City School Board.

Action News approached dozens of people Tuesday and many did not want to comment on the charges.

We found one resident who thinks both should resign.

"They should definitely step down," said Ricky Berrios. "Without a doubt, that's definitely no example for nobody in Atlantic City."

Word of these charges comes exactly two weeks after Mayor Small was joined by his family at a news conference to address a search warrant that had been served at his home a few days before.

Earlier this month, Mayor Small held a news conference in City Hall to say that a search of his home in late March involved "a private family issue," not a crime.

Mayor Small said at the news conference that he and his wife have been interacting with state child welfare authorities and have nothing to hide.

"We're going through family therapy, and that's what this should be, a family matter," he said.

A spokesman for the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency, said it cannot publicly discuss its cases to protect the privacy of those involved.

Small's wife and two children attended the news conference with him but did not speak, and left before it was completed.

The search warrant at Small's house happened the same day the principal of Atlantic City High School, Constance Days-Chapman, was arrested.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor says Days-Chapman failed to report allegations of child abuse to proper authorities when a student came forward.

During the news conference earlier this month, Small said Days-Chapman, who his family calls "Mandy," is a dear friend.

"We support you Mandy. You did absolutely nothing wrong," he said.

Days-Chapman has served as chair of Atlantic City's Democratic Committee and ran Mayor Small's reelection campaign in 2021.

The mayor and his wife are due to appear in Atlantic County Court on May 15.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.