Hilton family sues school district, superintendent after principal charged with sex abuse

Regional News

Elementary school principal Kirk Ashton is charged with sexually abusing at least 11 students, with offenses dating back several years.

HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — A family in Hilton has filed a federal lawsuit against the Hilton Central School District, Superintendent Dr. Casey Kosiorek, and Northwood Elementary School principal Kirk Ashton.

Ashton is charged with sexually abusing at least 11 students, with offenses dating back several years.

A family of a student at Northwood Elementary School signed a notice of claim last month, the first step in the legal process of filing a lawsuit, and the lawsuit was filed Friday.

The lawsuit says the boy was subjected to unwanted sexual contact by Ashton, beginning in the fall of 2017 as a second grader. The claim says the contact continued to happen each year as a third grader, fourth grader, and fifth grader — with the most recent contact occurring in February 2021.

According to the lawsuit, the boy would be called in front of his class by his teacher and then instructed to go to the principal’s office where he was to “eat lunch and work.”

The lawsuit says that once in his office, Ashton would ask the boy for a hug, have the boy eat his lunch while sitting on Ashton’s lap, and “touch the boy in areas close to his privates, as well as rubbing and caressing his legs, buttocks, waistline, thighs and shoulders.”

The lawsuit says these incidents occurred at least five times during each academic year from second through fifth grade — a total of at least 20 times.

The notice of claim lists items of damages or injuries as follows:

  • “Ashton has assaulted the boy and subjected him to a course of conduct spanning over a course of four years.”
  • The Hilton Central School District has “negligently failed to in its duty of training, supervision, hiring and retention with respect to Ashton for the purpose of preventing the type of conduct engaged in by Ashton.”
  • As a result, the boy has “seen his grades suffer, and has suffered emotional trauma, embarrassment, humiliation, extreme emotional stress, trauma, nervousness, anxiety, medical expenses, attorney’s fees and mental anguish.”

The lawsuit does not say if the boy is one of the victims who have previously come forward against Ashton.

Ashton has pleaded not guilty to all 25 charges he is currently facing:

  • 7 counts of second degree sexual conduct against a child
  • 7 counts of first degree sexual abuse
  • 11 counts of endangering the welfare of a child

Ashton is being held at Niagara County Jail on $250,000 bail. He remains on paid administrative leave with the school district.

Full lawsuit

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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