Another family takes legal action in Hilton principal sexual abuse case

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Another law firm has filed a notice of claim on the Hilton Central School District. The suspended principal, Kirk Ashton, is charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse against minors from second to fifth grade.

The intention is to bring a lawsuit against the district, the school board, and Ashton. The family did not sit down for this interview, but their lawyer did. He says the level of hurt the victim and their family are experiencing can’t be measured. 

“As a parent myself, I wouldn’t even want to begin to imagine having my child come home and tell me that ‘this happened to me,'” says Thomas Mortati, an Attorney with Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP.

Suspended Northwood Elementary School principal Kirk Ashton was charged back in April with 7 counts of second-degree sexual conduct against a child, 7 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, and 11 counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Ashton has denied the charges. 

An additional 15 victims have come forward against the principal on Monday. An indictment unsealed in Monroe County Court charged Ashton, with five counts of Sexual Abuse in the 1st Degree, 13 counts of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the 2nd Degree and 10 counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Mortati says doing this case, is like peeling back the layers of an onion. “An onion you don’t want to see the inside of at times. It’s difficult, to put it bluntly,” he says.

He says the victim and his family are doing as well as they can right now. “The damages are incalculable. Really, they are,” he says.

Mortati points out a notice of claim is not a lawsuit. Yet. “The district has the right if they so choose to retain counsel, to take sworn testimony,” he said. “Once that’s all done, then we can actually file a lawsuit.”

“Accountability. First and foremost, accountability. Acknowledgment that this happened. That this isn’t something these kids made up by any way shape or form. And ultimately making sure that not just my client, but all these other kids get the right support, both through their families and counseling to help them to…I don’t want to say ‘recover’. That’s not the right word. I can’t even begin to imagine.”

“This is a level of hurt that you really can’t touch upon properly,” he says.

Mortati says the case against Kirk Ashton could play out in the courtroom for years to come, as more and more families come forward. Ashton is currently being held in the Niagara County Jail. 

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