‘Sick to my stomach’: Parents react to Hilton principal’s sex abuse charges

Local News

HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Parents in the Hilton School District are asking how did this happen — after the news broke that an elementary school principal in the district was charged with a list of felony counts Wednesday night, accused of sexually abusing students.

Northwood Elementary School principal Kirk Ashton is accused of sexually abusing at least nine students, with offenses dating back several years.

Kimberly Read has two children who attend Northwood Elementary. Like many, she’s wondering, how did no one know about this alleged behavior?

“I am a former teacher, so as a former teacher, I just can’t help but think, how did no-one know this was happening,” Read said. “I have heard it firsthand from parents saying that their sons got taken out of class to go read a book to the principal, and they would go in the room and the door was locked and the blinds were closed. Like aren’t those major red flags?

“It literally makes me sick to my stomach, to think about these sweet poor boys who were so innocent and had no idea what was going on,” Read said.

The timeline of accusations and the correlating charges, from the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, is as follows:

Ashton was charged with six counts of Sexual Abuse in the 1st Degree for incident(s) that occurred 433 North Greece Road during the following time frames:

  • On or about and between December 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
  • On or about and between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
  • On or about and between December 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
  • On or about and between January 1, 2021 and February 28, 2021.
  • On or about and between September 1, 2019 and March 13, 2020 on two separate occasions.

Ashton was also charged with five counts of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the 2nd Degree for incident(s) that occurred 433 North Greece Road during the following time frames:

  • On or about and between September 1, 2019 and March 26, 2021.
  • On or about and between September 1, 2017 and March 13, 2020.
  • On or about and between September 1, 2020 and March 26, 2021.
  • On or about and between September 1, 2017 and March 26, 2021.
  • On or about and between January 1, 2018 and March 13, 2020.

Ashton was also charged with nine counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child for incident(s) that occurred 433 North Greece Road during the following time frames:

  • On or about and between January 1, 2021 and March 26, 2021.
  • On or about and between September 1, 2019 and March 26, 2021.
  • On or about and between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
  • On or about and between December 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021.
  • On or about and between September 1, 2017 and March 13, 2020.
  • On or about and between September 1, 2020 and March 26, 2021.
  • On or about and between September 1, 2019 and March 13, 2020.
  • On or about and between September 1, 2017 and March 26, 2021.
Mugshot of Kirk Ashton (left), and Ashton being escorted out of court by New York State Police on April 14, 2021.

Hilton Superintendent Casey Kosiorek sent the following note to parents in the district Wednesday evening:

Dear Northwood Parents and Guardians:

On April 8, I communicated with you about the placement of Principal Kirk Ashton on administrative leave pending an investigation. I also promised to provide you with additional information when it became available.

Late today, the New York State Police informed me that, following an investigation, Mr. Ashton is being charged with multiple counts of inappropriate sexual conduct with male students.

I want to assure you that the District has been cooperating fully with the State Police. Our primary concern is for our students. Our District crisis team has formulated a plan to support students and staff, and counselors are available for students throughout the day. In addition, the District has been working closely with the Bivona Child Advocacy Center throughout the investigation and will continue to do so.

With that in mind, if you have concerns about your child, please contact Bivona at 935-7800 or visit Bivonacac.org for a checklist for what to do if you suspect child abuse, who to call, common questions, and guidelines for age-appropriate conversations.  If a child makes a disclosure, or you suspect that something has occurred, please contact the New York State Police at 585-279-0144.

I will continue to communicate any new developments with you, as I am able.

Sincerely,

Casey Kosiorek, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Hilton School District officials released the following statement Wednesday evening:

“On April 8, the District informed staff and Northwood Elementary School parents about the placement of Principal Kirk Ashton on administrative leave pending an investigation.  Late today, the New York State Police informed the District that, following an investigation, Mr. Ashton is being charged with multiple counts of inappropriate sexual conduct with male students. 

The School District has been cooperating fully with the State Police. Our primary concern is for our students. Our District crisis team has formulated a plan to support students and staff, and counselors are available for students throughout the day. In addition, the District has been working closely with the Bivona Child Advocacy Center throughout the investigation and will continue to do so.

The District commends the individuals who initially brought this information forward and thanks the New York State Police for their prompt and thorough response.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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