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Former Yankee Rusty Torres Pleads Not Guilty To Child Sex Abuse Charges

Attorney Says Torres 'Emphatically' Denies Charges; Neighbors Bewildered
Rosendo "Rusty" Torres (L) on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 (credit: CBS 2)

Rosendo “Rusty” Torres (L) on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 (credit: CBS 2)

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A former New York Yankees’ outfielder says he’s innocent and pleaded not guilty to child sex abuse charges Wednesday.

Rosendo “Rusty” Torres was arraigned Wednesday morning in Nassau County. The ex-ball player was arrested Tuesday on charges he sexually assaulted an 8-year-old girl, police said.

Bail was set at $50,000.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports

Police sources told CBS 2’s John Slattery the charges stem from two incidents over the last 10 days — that he exposed himself to an 8-year-old girl and inappropriately touched her. The alleged abuse happened on April 30 and on Monday in a van owned by the town of Oyster Bay, where Torres was working as a youth baseball coach.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports

“In regard to this specific incident, he was alone with that child,” Nassau County Police Sgt. Robert Materdero said.

But Torres’ attorney Scott Carrigan said that his client is innocent.

“He emphatically denies the charges and he’s certainly disturbed by the allegations and they appear to be completely inconsistent with his character and his demeanor,” Carrigan said.

Oyster Bay’s town supervisor John Venditto said the former Yankee “has been suspended without pay as a result of his arrest.” Any programs he was scheduled to conduct have been cancelled as police investigate the claim.

Back in his Massapequa neighborhood, those who have admired Torres as a baseball player and a friend are hoping the allegations aren’t true.

“He’s never crossed a line in any way that I’ve ever seen,” said neighbor Janice Catalano. “He’s got grandchildren, his whole family. It would be devastating to him, to the family and to the whole neighborhood.”

“He’s just such a family man,” said neighbor Gus Galatatzis. It’s very hard to believe it.”

Torres played two undistinguished seasons for the Yankees back in the early 1970’s. He also played with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, California Angels and Kansas City Royals during his nine-year career.

Torres has also spent more than a decade as a little league coach for the town of Oyster Bay. While police indicate there was only one victim in this case, they urge parents of children who were coached by Torres to question their kids to see if there are other allegations of child sexual abuse.

Officials said there were no indications of any prior arrests for Torres, and no complaints lodged by any other children he coached. He is charged with four misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse. If convicted on each count, he could face up to seven years in prison.

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