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Public school parents in upstate New York received an email warning them that their kids' former principal has been released from jail after posting bail.
Former Northwood Elementary School Principal Kirk Ashton has been charged with sexually abusing schoolboys over a 17-year span.
At the time of his arrest in April, he was accused of sexually abusing nine young male students from within the district. Since then, a total of more than two dozen children have come forward with accusations of abuse.
"Hilton [Central School District] emailed parents saying that former principal Kirk Ashton has been released from jail,"
reported Spectrum News' Wendy Mills.
"District says it will have additional security outside Northwood [Elementary School] Tuesday and that counselors will be available for students and staff,"
"I have been informed that former Northwood Principal, Kirk Ashton, was released from jail today,"
read the email, signed by Hilton Central School District Superintendent Casey Kosiorek, according to News 8 WROC. "The district will have additional security present outside Northwood tomorrow. In addition, I will be there, along with other administrators from District Office. We will also have several additional counseling staff available for students and staff throughout the day."
The office of Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley released a statement Tuesday, "In anticipation of his (Ashton's) release, the Greece Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office are aware of the situation and will be monitoring closely,"
the statement said. "The Monroe County District Attorney's Office is prepared to bring this case to trial as soon as possible."
Ashton posted $100,000 bail - an amount that has been reduced numerous times since his arrest, WHAM 13 News outlined last month:
In July, Ashton's attorney argued for his $250,000 bail to be reduced, saying he only had access to $20,000 in personal funds and can't draw on the $600,000 he has in retirement finances. His attorney requested it be reduced to $20,000, but the judge settled on $175,000, while also stipulating Ashton be subject to electronic home monitoring.
On Friday (September 17), the judge reduced Ashton's cash bail to $100,000 and the bond to $175,000.
The News 8 WROC report added that the principal resigned in September after pleading not guilty to a total of 25 charges. And an agreement between Ashton and the district notably allows the former administrator to be paid five months salary, as well as receive compensation for "the amount of his accrued vacation and sick time."
Attorney Jason Housel, representing Ashton, said last month that his client would get $8,000 a month from the district, per the agreement.
"Even if it was turned over to him, he doesn't get that entire amount," Housel complained. "He has a wife. They have to go through a divorce proceeding and allocate that money appropriately, so he does not have what the people claim he does."
Assistant District Attorney Sara VanStrydonck argued in September that Ashton is a flight risk.
"It's only grown stronger as the list and number of child victims have come forward and (he has) been indicted,"
the assistant district attorney said. "We feel that the more victims, the more charges, the more notoriety of this defendant, it makes him a higher flight risk."
According to WHAM 13 News, Ashton will be set up with electronic home monitoring and will have to surrender his passport. He's barred from going near any school or Hilton Central.
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