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Southern Cayuga teaching assistant accused of having relationship with murder suspect while he was a student

In the Southern Cayuga Central School District, concerns have been raised regarding a teaching assistant’s alleged romantic involvement with a former student, now facing murder charges, without any formal investigation by the district despite prior notifications.

The Citizen identified the educator as Mary Ferro, who testified in court that her relationship with ex-student Gage Ashley began after he turned 20, following his 2017 graduation. However, Ferro’s adult children tell The Citizen they alerted the district years ago, fearing the relationship started while Ashley was still a student.


Despite the children’s efforts to inform the district’s superintendent about their suspicions and community rumors, their concerns seemingly went unaddressed. The situation resurfaced during the investigation of Joshua Poole’s 2019 murder, in which Ashley is implicated, drawing further attention to the nature of Ashley’s connection with Ferro.

The case underscores the delicate balance between protecting student welfare and navigating the complexities of personal privacy and institutional responsibility. The District has not commented on the matter.