Created: April 15, 2021 07:05 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Chad Morrison, now in his 20s, told News10NBC that Kirk Ashton, who was arrested on nine felony charges involving sexually abusing children Wednesday night, touched him inappropriately when he was a student at Leary Elementary School in Rush-Henrietta.
Ashton was a teacher on special assignment at Leary before becoming a principal in the Hilton Central School District.
"I don't remember how we became so close, but he was like the one person I trusted would make everything better," Morrison said.
Morrison says that he suffered from anxiety as a child and that he would sometimes have private visits in Ashton’s office.
"My safe space was his office, which is kind of messed up looking back at it," Morrison said. "I can like literally picture it in my head right now. Like I can see his office, how it's set up."
It’s in Ashton’s office where Morrison says uncomfortable encounters occurred.
"No teacher from kindergarten through college has ever touched me—maybe like a high five or a fist bump—but like to sit on a man's lap and have him like slowly rub your back, and your neck and your arms. I thought it was just like, to calm me down, maybe," Morrison said.
News10NBC asked Morrison how many times he remembers being touched by Ashton in a one-on-one scenario.
"It was a few times. It was often when I had to take, like, state tests or bigger tests, but again I always trusted him, so I can't give you a number but it was definitely a few times," Morrison said.
Parents who currently have students in the district are shocked and angry to hear about the charges against Ashton.
"I'm horrified at everything that has come out about this,” said Kim Read, who has a 6-year-old and a 7-year-old at Northwood Elementary. “I'm sick to my stomach. You know, honestly, I'm thankful I have girls because I know that he tended to prefer the boys in the school."
Now parents are wondering why “red flags” weren’t spotted sooner.
"Where were the people that were around his office?” Read said. “Kids should never be in his office with the door closed and the blinds shut. That's never okay, whether it's girls or boys or anyone in the school."
Watch the video in the player below to learn more about how to talk to children about these issues.
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