ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Closing arguments have concluded in the trial of a former Hilton Elementary School principal accused of sexually abusing students during school hours.
Kirk Ashton was arrested in 2021 after accusations were made that he sexually abused over 20 students during his 17-year tenure at Northwood Elementary School.
Ashton currently faces 50 counts total, including endangering the welfare of a child, first-degree sex abuse, and second-degree sexual conduct against a child. He could face a maximum of 20 years, but no more per the New York State Department of Corrections.
After nearly three weeks of testimony, the jury will decide the fate of Ashton.
Ashton’s defense asked the jury to focus on and consider the credibility of the witnesses. His attorney said that the witnesses were provided “scripted testimonies” after spending time with the prosecution.
The defense also added that the jury must consider the idea of sensationalism while saying that Ashton had no end goal of sexual gratification and did not knowingly perform the alleged acts.
The prosecution, in their closing argument, began by saying the victims are “only boys” and “always boys.” Prosecutor Sara Van Strydonck went over several children’s testimonies and described in detail the alleged instances where Ashton groomed them.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.