Community upset by release of former Northwood Elementary principal accused of sexual abuse
GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) — The release from jail of the former Hilton elementary school principal accused of sex abuse of students brought disappointment and reluctant acceptance from parents.
Kirk Ashton made bail and was let out of the Monroe County Jail on Tuesday.
“This is not a man who should be walking our streets,” exclaimed parent Amy Casciani. “This is not a man should be free. He should be locked up in prison until he sees his day in court.”
Casciani said the sex abuse scandal surrounding former Northwood Elementary School principal Ashton has been “disheartening,” and so has the news that he’s now out of jail on bail.
Her family moved to Hilton for the school system and her son is in second grade. She says she had the same impression of Ashton as other parents.
“He was a great guy,” she recalled thinking. “He cared about the students. He really went above and beyond. And I think he truly had everybody fooled.”
Ashton walked out of the Monroe County jail Tuesday for the first time since April after he formally made bail on Monday.
He’s charged with sexual conduct with a child, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.
The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office said it has identified 26 victims.
Lawyer Paul Harding represents the families of victims now suing Ashton and the school district.
“The school district had a duty, failed in that duty,” he declared.
Harding says too many people had an inkling something was wrong, for too long and Ashton should have been stopped.
“In fact,” he said, “I think what we’re going to find is there was even buzz about what would happen in principal Ashton‘s office. And, to think that at that moment, that there wasn’t going to be just an absolute stop to it, it is just unconscionable.”
“It’s very difficult, thinking that your child could have been a victim, could’ve been the next victim,” said Casciani. “We’ve lost sleep at night.
Harding says most families understand that Ashton had a right to get out on bail until his trial.
Casciani said, considering the allegations, she wishes he could’ve stayed locked up.
“As a parent, I would absolutely cringe to see him in his car, or at the supermarket, or, really, anywhere. So keeping him locked up was the better bet,” she said.
Ashton has been set up with electronic home monitoring.
The DA’s Office said Greece Police and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office have been alerted to monitor the situation.