A former New York Yankees outfielder has been arrested on disturbing charges of sexually abusing an 8-year-old child in the town-issued van he drives as a youth baseball coach in a small, idyllic Long Island town.
As reported by NBC New York, the New York Post, CBS New York and other outlets, former MLB veteran Rosendo "Rusty" Torres was arrested on Tuesday and arraigned Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of sexual abuse. Torres, who played as an outfielder for the Yankees, Indians, White Sox, Royals and Angels across a nine-year career, is now 63 and lives in Massapequa, N.Y., though he has worked for a variety of youth baseball programs in nearby Oyster Bay.
It was in that capacity that Torres allegedly abused an 8-year-old girl inside a town-issued van, with law enforcement officials telling the press that Torres inappropriately touched the young girl on April 30 and Monday, after which the girl told her parents, who then alerted police.
Torres was immediately suspended without pay from his position with the town of Oyster Bay, but those in the surrounding Long Island community were left stunned by the accusations against him.
"No way! Rusty arrested? What?" one of Torres' neighbors, Gus Galatatzis, told the New York Post. "I'm floored right now. He even coached my son. He's great. He knows everyone in the neighborhood and everyone knows him. He's such a well-known, well-liked guy. I'm speechless.
"Rusty is such a friendly, outgoing guy, I pray to God it's [the allegations] not true."
Another 10-year neighbor of the former major leaguer, Janice Catalano, was similarly stunned by the allegations against the longtime outfielder.
"I'm at a loss for words," Catalano told NBC New York. "And I think anybody in this neighborhood would say the same thing. He did programs in the town to keep kids on the right track. I just don't believe it."