HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Kirk Ashton, the Former Hilton elementary school principal, has been indicted on 11 counts of endangering the welfare of a child an increase from the initial nine, after two more alleged victims have come forward.
Ashton is accused of sexually abusing at least 11 students, with offenses dating back several years. Ashton was indicted on 25 charges by a Monroe County grand jury including:
- 7 counts of second degree sexual conduct against a child
- 7 counts of first degree sexual abuse
- 11 counts of endangering the welfare of a child
Officials say more charges are possible if more victims come forward
In cases of sexual abuse one person coming forward can provide others the courage to do so themselves. In the case of the Hilton Principal charged of sexual abuse, Dr. Elizabeth Murray a pediatrician at Golisano Children’s Hospital and doctor with the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, believes that could be a possibility.
“Understandably, children can think now that there so much media about this, there’s so much coverage, there’s other children that, we’re concerned about other children coming forward,” said Dr. Murray.
Dr. Murray is not directly involved in the care of the victims from the Hilton Sex abuse investigation, however, she has worked with child abuse victims and says a key part of uncovering more cases is providing the tools necessary for children to tell their story.
“These educational programs that can happen in schools are just so critically important to give children the skills and the language they need to, in some situations, to stand up for themselves and to have the courage to come forward if heaven forbid something did happen to them,” said Dr. Murray.
Dr. Murray says in 90% of child sexual abuse cases, the abuser is known to the victim, and that is why it is so crucial to provide both physical and mental health services to help the families and the children work through their trauma.
“My role as a physician to help to make sure that children know that their bodies are healthy and normal, but the mental health providers are going to help them understand that what happened is not their fault,” said Dr. Murray.
Dr. Murray also works with the Bivona Child Advocacy Center and says there are many organizations and partnerships aimed at helping families and children reach the tools they need.
Ashton was arraigned last week in Greece Town Court and is currently being held at the Niagara County Jail on a $500,000 cash bail, $1 million bond. Eight orders of protection were issued last week.