Gareth Mason made an appearance at Leeds Magistrates’ Court this morning to answer charges from more than 20 years ago.
The 52-year-old is facing five counts of indecent assault on a girl under 16, and one of gross indecency with a girl under 16, all dated between 2001 and 2002.
During the brief hearing, Mason, dressed in a chequered shirt and jeans, confirmed his name and date of birth before pleading not guilty to all charges.
Presiding, District Judge Timothy Capstick said a trial needed to be heard at the crown court. Mason will now appear at Leeds Crown Court on September 15. It is expected that a trial date will then be set during that appearance.
Mason, of of Meynell Road, Colton, is reported to have left his role as chief executive of the Falcon Education Academies Trust In October 2020, and was on secondment from Delta Academies Trust.
Delta, based in Knottingley, has 46 schools under its wing, including 10 primary and secondary schools in the Leeds and Wakefield area. The remainder are based in Hull, Doncaster, Dewsbury, Goole, Harrogate, Maltby, Barnsley, Bradford, Scunthorpe, Grimsby, Brigg, and Worksop. It is understood he no longer works for the trust.
Falcon Education Academies Trust was set up in 2019 as part of a Government-led scheme to take over schools in the north that no other trust wanted. It was announced last month that the trust would close.