Finnegan Sentenced To 6 Years Probation
A Belle Harbor music teacher who worked closely with children in both church and private music programs was sentenced on Tuesday to six years probation after completing a Florida program for sexual offenders, court sources said.
The teacher, identified by court papers as Michael Finnegan, 40, was arraigned in March of 2009 on charges that he had an ongoing sexual affair with an unidentified 15-year-old who attended his musical program in the basement of the First Cong regational Church on Beach 94 Street.
Court papers provided by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown showed at the time that Finnegan, who owned and operated the Peninsula Performing Arts Conservatory (PPAC), a group that rented space from the church, first kissed the teen girl in July of 2008, after a music class in the church basement.
The consensual affair progressed from a single kiss to sexual intercourse in a series of liaisons that lasted for at least four months, before the affair came to light, court papers show.
Finnegan had previously been a music teacher at PS 43 in Edgemere and then the music director at a Brooklyn church.
He was well known in Rockaway, however, often involved with Catholic churches in Rockaway, with the Rockaway Theatre Company and with the PPAC.
Upon his arraignment, Finnegan was charged with rape in the third degree, two counts of a criminal sexual act in the third degree, endangering the welfare of a child and nine counts of sexual abuse in the third degree.
He pled guilty to statutory rape last January, but his sentence was deferred pending his completion of the sexual offender program.
Court sources say that Finnegan is due back in Queens Supreme Court on March 14 to officially register as a sexual offender, a move that is mandated by his sentence.