ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Opening statements and testimonies began on Tuesday, in the Kirk Ashton trial.

The former Northwood Elementary School principal pleaded not guilty to 25 charges, and is facing allegations of sexual abuse from over 20 alleged victims. He was arrested in April of 2021.

The Assistant District Attorney’s opening statement focused on the voices that came forward, with allegations occurring over the span of years. The prosecution says Ashton “groomed” everyone involved, including students, teachers and parents.

The defense attorney’s opening statement focused on a reminder to the jury of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the number of allegations (26) does not equate to guilt.

The oldest victim is 21 years old, attorneys say.

The first to testify, was a minor — followed by his mother.

The child testified that Ashton would often compliment how he was doing in class, and chat with him in the halls. At times, he says, Ashton invited him to lunch bunch clubs in his office, and allowed him to invite other friends.

The child said girls were never at the lunch meetings.

Then, the child testified to being touched inappropriately and says Ashton asked him to sit on his lap, multiple times.

“He would sometimes ask me to come to sit on his lap, and sometimes rubbing my neck and squeezing it…in his office,” the child said.

The child said there was inappropriate touching under the clothing.

The parent says she learned her child showed agitation, after discussing a potential appointment with Ashton. She says her son, “didn’t want to go to his office,” to discuss school, because he’d “have to sit on his lap.”

The parent says she contacted child protective services, and kept the information to her husband, and her parents only, for protection and confidentiality.

The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, and Bivona, are providing advocates for the family throughout the trial. 

News 8 will not be identifying or showing any minors or parents.