Hilton Principal charged with sex abuse returns to court, has bail lowered

Local News

HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Former Northwood Elementary School Principal Kirk Ashton was back in court Friday. He has multiple sexual abuse charges involving children, spanning his 17 years at Hilton.

26 victims have come forward against Ashton — the judge lowered his bail by more than $50,000 today. 

Friday was a motion hearing preparing for the trial of Ashton, it was also his 6th bail application. His bail was lowered by the judge from $175,000 to $100,000. His lawyer says that’s still too much money — but the Monroe County District Attorney’s office argued Ashton is a man of significant financial means.

Back in July, the court already lowered bail from $250,000 to $175,000. Friday, the defense argued Ashton only has just over $20,000 in his bank account and can’t make bail (That’s about the same amount he had in savings back in July). The Assistant District Attorney argued Ashton still makes $161,000 per-year, all while sitting in jail. They said Ashton will still draw a paycheck from Hilton even after his resignation, although that will eventually come to an end.

Ashton’s lawyer argued there are other financial obligations and a number of bills to pay. Ultimately, the party wants a bail in the range of $20,000.

“I’ve indicated previously that does he have a significant retirement account, yes. There’s no access to that account and it is marital property. Even if it was turned over to him, he doesn’t get that entire amount. He has a wife he has to go through a divorce proceeding…” says Jason Housel, Kirk Ashton’s attorney. “Just because one is incarcerated does not mean that life outside of the jail cell stops,” he adds.

“I believe bail was initially set at $500,000 in Greece Town Court earlier in April. The only changes that I’ve seen have been more young boys coming forward, more charges that were indicted,” says Assistant District Attorney Sara Vanstrydonck. “We maintain our position that this particular defendant is an extreme flight risk. Our position has been the same since his arraignment in Greece Town Court on the felony complaints. It’s only grown stronger as the list and number of child victims have come forward and been indicted.”

The courtroom also had a number of parents in it. All their kids are alleged victims in all this. They sat quietly as the court appearance went on. Ashton’s next court date will be November 12th at 2pm. He is currently held in the Niagara County Jail. 

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