OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — He once wore Yankee pinstripes, but on Tuesday night, a Long Island man was in a jail uniform.
The Little League baseball coach is accused of sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
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Rosendo “Rusty” Torres wasn’t a household name when he played two years for the Yankees back in the 1970s, but everyone knows him in one Massapequa neighborhood, and they can’t believe he’s being accused of sexually abusing a child.
“He’s just such a family man. It’s very … it’s very hard to believe it,” neighbor Gus Galatatzis said.
“I’m floored! You don’t know everything about everybody. But from everything I’ve ever seen he’s been up and above board. He’s never crossed a line in anyway that I’ve ever seen,” neighbor Janice Catalano added.
Catalano and Galatatzis said they have known 63-year-old Torres for at least a decade.
They said he’s a friendly neighbor who spends most of his time outdoors, doing yard work, restoring classic cars and playing with his grand kids.
“He took my son who couldn’t hit a ball or catch a ball. He would just … a few little tips and tricks. He’s just … he was great with kids,” Galatatzis said.
Prosecutors said Torres was working as a baseball coach for the Town of Oyster Bay.
He drove a town-issued van and is accused of sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl inside that van. The child’s parents went to police Monday to report the alleged abuse.
No one would answer the door at Torres’ Massapequa home where he was arrested Tuesday morning.
Oyster Bay’s supervisor said the town is cooperating with police and Torres “has been suspended without pay as a result of his arrest today.”
Torres’ friends said they are hoping the allegations aren’t true.
“He’s got grandchildren. His whole family. It would be devastating to him, to the family and to the whole neighborhood,” one person said.
Torres will be arraigned Wednesday on four counts of sexual abuse.
Torres also played with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, California Angels and Kansas City Royals during his nine-year career.
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