Trial date set for former Hilton principal accused of sexually abusing students

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The former Northwood Elementary School principal accused of sexually abusing more than two dozen students over the course of years now has a trial date.

Kirk Ashton’s trial is set to begin on Oct. 3. He is facing dozens of charges, including sexual abuse, in connection to the allegations.

The 51-year-old’s trial date was set on Friday. Ashton has been out on bail since October when it was decided he will have to wear an ankle monitor until his trial.

“At this point, we are ready to try it,” said Assistant District Attorney Sara Vanstrydonck. “The only reason it’s in October is just gathering everybody’s schedules and digging out of the COVID backlog.”

Prosecutors and the judge predict the trial could last for two or three weeks because there are so many allegations against Ashton.

There are also multiple lawsuits against Ashton and the Hilton Central School District related to the alleged abuse.

Across two indictments, Ashton is accused of abusing 26 children while he was a principal of Northwood Elementary from 2004 through 2021. He allegedly caressed and fondled boys in his office. One lawsuit alleges Ashton subjected a student to weekly abuse for six years.

Ashton was arrested back on April 15, and at the time, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley said the latest allegation happened on March 26, 2021.

“The parents, certainly, even though we are more than a year or just about a year past when this case broke, they are still upset about various things and, I think, frustration with how long it seems to take,” Vanstrydonck said. “Which I can understand.”

Ashton’s lawyers tried to get the conditions of his release relaxed while he was in court Friday, but the judge said they’re minimal already, so she turned down that request.