New York elementary school principal accused of sexually abusing multiple male students

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GREECE, NY – A long-time principal in the Hilton Central School District is in jail after being charged with sexually abusing nine young boys who were students at the elementary school.

Kirk Ashton, who has served as the principal of Northwood Elementary School for 17 years, is facing nine counts of endangering the welfare of a child, six counts of first-degree sexual abuse, and five counts of second-degree course of sexual conduct, according to the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.

The DA’s Office said that nine male victims came forward with offenses dating back several years. New York State Police investigators said the alleged abuse happened during school hours between Sept. 1, 2019 and March 26, 2021.

A tip to the New York State Child Abuse Hotline on March 26, the last day of school before spring break, sparked an intense investigation and the victim, along with eight others, were identified. The victims range from eight to 12 years old.

Sara Van Strydonk, the assistant district attorney for Monroe County, said she believes an education program taught at the elementary school led to the tip being made:

 “I feel strongly that we would not be here right now if not for the educational program.”

Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Dooley said there could be more victims:

“There’s a lot more to do with this investigation. And if any parent is listening right now, have a conversation with your child. There could be more victims out there.”

Greece Police Chief Drew Forsythe said:

“This particular crime is almost unthinkable. Using his position of power and authority, this predator preyed on these little boys. This guy, who is charged with guiding, mentoring, and protecting children, used their innocence and trust to violate them.

The chief called the victims who came forward courageous:

“These courageous little men, in the face of fear and uncertainty, showed their bravery and came forward to tell their story.

“Those of us in law enforcement are now charged with ensuring justice is served for these children and their families.”

It is alleged that five of the nine victims were sexually assaulted repeatedly over the last three months, and police are now looking as far back as when Ashton was hired by the school. Maj. Barry Chase of the New York State Police said:

“Based on other investigations we’ve had over the years, we’d probably guess it’s gone back that far. We don’t know that for a fact at this point. Obviously, we’re going to look into that.

“Individuals who are predators – they prey on children – unfortunately sometimes they get into positions that are power(full) and they take advantage of the weak and young.”

Ashton was arrested at a restaurant and brought to Greece Town Court Wednesday night for arraignment.  He is being held in the county jail on a $2.5 million bond.

Eight orders of protection were also filed against Ashton on Wednesday.

Ashton had been placed on leave last week pending an investigation, according to a district spokesperson.

Van Strydonck said that the crimes could go back “not just years, but decades”:

“Anytime there’s allegations of kids being hurt, it’s upsetting to the community, and it should be. It’s upsetting as a parent, and I think 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.”

Chief Forsythe said that Ashton was the worst kind of person:

“This guy, you know, we drop our children off every day. Myself, members of this police department, members of this community – we dropped our children to him. They’re going to be safe. They’re going to be protected. And this guy? The worst ever.”

Ashton has a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 20, 2021. Doorley said a grand jury will be presented with the charges.

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Eleven men arrested, including elementary school assistant principal, in online predator sting in Las Vegas

December 12, 2020

 

LAS VEGAS, NV – Eleven men, including an elementary school assistant principal and men from out of state, were arrested following a two-day joint operation led by Las Vegas police and the FBI in an online sex predator sting on December 8th and 9th

The sting was part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICACTF) “Operation Protect Our Children.”

“Operation Protect Our Children” targets online predators who attempted to meet and have sex with a child.

Eleven men arrested, including elementary school assistant principal, in online predator sting in Las Vegas

December 12, 2020

 

In cooperation with LVMPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICACTF), the agencies took the suspects into custody after they attempted to meet and engage in sex acts with a person posing as a 13-year-old girl online, police said in a release.

The following suspects were arrested as part of the investigation: Christopher Damron (46), Anthony Huth (42), Alejandro Aranda (35), Nicholas Lara (27), Miguel Amezquita (55), Jonathan Tavares (45), Samuel Privado-Martinez (40), Armand Grays (45), Kun Yoo (36) and Shawn Matthews (39).

According to an arrest report for 46-year-old Christopher Damron, it was determined that he traveled all the way from Oxnard, California to engage in sex with a minor and enticement of prostitution, following an unrelated online prostitution advertisement posted by an officer with the Child Exploitation Task Force.

29-year-old Tyler Yost, an assistant principal at a Clark County elementary school, was also arrested.   It was confirmed with the school that Yost was hired in 2015.

Herbert A. Derfelt Elementary School Principal Gina Howard sent the following letter to parents regarding Yost’s arrest:

“The safety of our students is the number one priority at Derfelt Elementary School. As always, we want to keep you informed of important issues happening within our school community.

“We would like to inform you that an employee assigned to our school has been arrested today for luring a child for sex. The employee is currently assigned to home, as of today, per the negotiated agreement with their bargaining unit.

“The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is the lead investigative agency and has reported the employee’s name as Tyler Yost. We wish to assure you that we are cooperating fully with law enforcement in their investigation.

“Please know that this is a police investigation and, as school officials, we do not have additional information to share. However, if you have questions about your child, please contact the school at (702) 799-4370.”

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reported that the men face charges including: luring a child to engage in sexual conducting, solicitation for child prostitution, attempted sexual assault against a child under 14 and luring a child with computer technology to engage in sexual conduct.

They released a formal statement on the investigation:

“The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) would like to remind parents to discuss with their children the dangers of online chats with strangers.

“Parents are encouraged to routinely monitor their children’s activity on social media and other online applications to prevent them from becoming victims of a child sex predator.  

“This operation was conducted as part of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s ongoing effort to reduce violent crime and protect children in our community.”

Just last month, after a spike in “vigilante behavior incidents,” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said they are investigating several incidences where people are posing as minors to lure would-be child predators and catch them in the act, the department said in a release.

Alleged offenders are meeting at designated locations and are confronted about their online exchanges with minors. Video recordings are then posted, garnering thousands of online views. Some of the interactions have turned violent, police said.

Police are asking the public to report any suspicious behavior and to “not take matters in their own hands.” 

 

 

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