Police: Lindenhurst crossing guard forcibly touched 15-year-old girl

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LINDENHURST -

A veteran Suffolk County crossing guard is accused of forcibly touching a 15-year-old girl in Lindenhurst.

Investigators say it happened about two weeks ago, while the girl was walking to pick up her younger sibling from Alleghany Avenue Elementary School.

Police say 78-year-old Philip Bonaventura, who's been a crossing guard for 12 years, escorted the victim to a nearby building and inappropriately touched her.

Bonaventura's neighbors say he is a longtime volunteer for the Lindenhurst Fire Department. Police have not said into which building Bonaventura brought the victim, but there is a firehouse on the corner where he was a guard.

No one at the firehouse would speak on camera, but members say the crossing guard sometimes opened the door for children so they could use the restroom. They say Bonaventura never went inside with them.

Residents say they're unsettled by the allegations.

"He's very friendly, always pops over to say, 'Hello.' So I'm just shocked right now, we're all kind of in shock," says Kelly McHugh, of Lindenhurst.

Bonaventura was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child. He was issued a field appearance ticket and is due in court Friday.

Police ask any other potential victims to contact Suffolk Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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