Updated: April 15, 2021 11:30 AM
Created: April 14, 2021 09:32 PM
GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) — The principal of Northwood Elementary School in Hilton Wednesday night was charged with multiple counts of inappropriate conduct with male students.
News10NBC crews caught Kirk Ashton leaving the Greece Town Court building after pleading not guilty to nine felony charges. He is accused of sexually abusing multiple boys at the school over several years according to the Monroe County District Attorney's Office.
New York State Police say he is charged with multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a child, first-degree sex abuse, and second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child.
"You know anytime there's allegations of kids being hurt, it's upsetting to the community—and it should be—especially as a parent, and I think that the community is hurting right now, as they should be and hopefully at the end of this when we release more information at least some lessons can be learned," Assistant District Attorney Sara Vanstrydonck said.
Ashton is in custody Wednesday night; Vanstrydonck says he was unable to post his $500,000 bail.
Orders of protection have been issued for eight of the victims. One of the parents declined due to privacy concerns.
Breaking: Hilton Elementary School Principal Kirk Ashton leaving Greece Court tonight after pleading not guilty. He’s charged with 9 felony counts. He’s accused of sexually abusing boys at Northwood Elementary over the course of several years. @news10nbc pic.twitter.com/UQPL8uANfL— Stephanie Duprey (@WHEC_SDuprey) April 15, 2021
The Hilton Central School District says it's fully cooperating with the New York State Police.
The district sent the following statement Wednesday night:
"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."
News10NBC obtained an email sent to Northwood parents, saying in part, "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 is encouraging parents to contact Bivona at 585-935-7800 or visit the advocacy center's website for more resources.
The New York State Police Thursday held a joint briefing related to the arrest.
Last week, the Hilton Central School District announced that Ashton was on leave, pending an investigation.
The New York State Police also told News10NBC last Thursday that it has an “ongoing criminal investigation at the Hilton School District.”
Copyright 2021 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company