GPD Chief on Hilton principal charged with sex abuse: 'We dropped our children off to this guy every day'

Berkeley Brean
Created: April 15, 2021 05:42 PM

GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) — Police are trained to stick to the facts and don't get emotional when you're talking about a case. The Greece Police chief here didn't care about that at a news conference Thursday.

“Listen, this guy...” Greece Police Chief Drew Forsythe said pausing as his eyes welled with tears. “We dropped our children off to this guy every day.”

The children of Chief Forsythe and hundreds of other families attended the school where Kirk Ashton was principal. Northwood Elementary School is in the Hilton Central School District but sits in the Town of Greece.

“You know when your kids are little, and they go to kindergarten, on the first day of kindergarten, it's the greatest thing in the world,” Forsythe said. “And get them on the bus, we drop them off thinking they're going to be safe and they're going to be protected. And this guy? The worst ever.”

New York State Police say 51-year-old Kirk Ashton is charged with abusing nine students in his school, during the school day. 

Some of the charges go back to September 2017 all the way up to March 26 this year, the last day before school break and the day state police got the allegations.

Just prior to that, state police say the Bivona Child Advocacy Center did an educational program at Northwood.

Brean: “You said Bivona had some kind of program at the school prior to these allegations being made.”

Maj. Barry Chase, NYSP Troop E: “Yes and...”

Brean: “Do you think the complaints were filed because that program happened?”

Chase: “I think it's likely that it did.”

Brean: “What is he accused of doing as recently as March 26 to endanger a child?

Sandra Doorley, Monroe County District Attorney: “It's a time period, it goes from, let me get that one, from January 1 through March 26. So over that period of time he knowingly acted in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental welfare of a child less than 17 years old.”

Records show Ashton was principal at Northwood Elementary School for 17 years. 

From 1996 to 2004 ,he was a teacher at Vollmer and Leary elementary schools in the Rush-Henrietta Central School District.

Prior to that, Ashton worked at Hillside. 

In a statement, Hillside said, "We are prepared to cooperate fully with authorities as needed with regard to this reported incident."

Ashton is in the Monroe County jail. His bail is $500,000.

He is charged with nine counts of endangering the welfare of a child, six counts of first degree sex abuse and five counts of course of sexual conduct against a child.

State Police says there are currently nine victims who are all boys and all students at Northwood Elementary.

Copyright 2021 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company