Long Island teacher accused of sexually assaulting 10-year-old girl

HEMPSTEAD, Long Island (WABC) -- A Long Island elementary school art teacher is under arrest, accused of sexually abusing a young girl. And police fear there may be more victims.

Authorities say 51-year-old John Joseph Finnegan, of Island Park, subjected a 10-year-old girl to inappropriate behavior and sexual contact during an after-school program.

The alleged incident happened January 3 at Jackson Annex Elementary School in Hempstead, where Finnegan teaches.

During the course of their investigation, authorities learned of two additional cases involving two more alleged victims who they believe were targeted by Finnegan during after-school programs.

The specific nature of allegations was ordered sealed by the judge, but prosecutors say the two other children witnessed the alleged abuse.

Finnegan, a teacher in the district for 23 years, was arrested and charged with sexual abuse and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

He was arraigned and ordered held on $20,000 bail. His attorney, Dana Grossblatt, denied the allegations and called Finnegan a "beloved art teacher."

"These allegations are absolutely, utterly preposterous," she said.

Authorities are asking anyone who believes his or her child may have been victimized by Finnegan, or who may have additional information about these alleged crimes, to contact the Special Victims Squad at (516) 573-4022 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.

All callers will remain anonymous.

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