An 8-year-old girl told police ex-Yankee outfielder Rosendo "Rusty" Torres inappropriately touched her and exposed himself while coaching her in baseball in Plainview in 2012, a Nassau detective testified Thursday.
"I know the difference between a truth and a lie, and this is the truth," Det. Sally Grathwohl said, quoting the victim from a statement she gave to police on May 7, 2012, detailing her alleged abuse.
Torres, 65, of Massapequa, is accused of sexually abusing two 8-year-olds when he was a youth baseball instructor in Oyster Bay. He has pleaded not guilty. Torres was indicted in January 2013 on seven counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of second-degree "course of sexual conduct against a child."
He is accused of having inappropriate contact with the victims in what the girls knew as "bumping" while he coached them.
Testifying for the prosecution in Nassau County Court, Grathwohl said the victim drew a picture of male genitalia while waiting with her parents to be interviewed by police. The girl then scratched it out, she said.
The girl, now 11, said to police that Torres pressed up against her during instruction on April 30 and May 7, 2012. He also took her into a van both of those days. The first day, he inappropriately touched her in the van, and the second day, Torres exposed himself to her outside the van, the girl's statement said.
In cross-examination, Torres' attorney, Troy A. Smith of White Plains, questioned Grathwohl's qualifications and training for interviewing young victims in sex abuse cases.
"Most of your training as a detective is in conducting interrogations," he said. Grathwohl said while she did not have specialized training, she was familiar with how to interview children in such cases.
Smith also pointed out the interview was not videotaped to capture the questioning, telling the detective, "There is nothing memorializing the questions that you asked her."
Prosecutors said the girl's abuse took place on four instances: three in April 2012 and one on May 7, 2012, in Plainview, prosecutors said.
The acts against a second girl took place between October 2008 and May 2012, also in Plainview, prosecutors said.
Torres, who worked for the Town of Oyster Bay, was arrested on May 8, 2012, and has been suspended from his job as a youth baseball coach.
Smith said Torres is not a sexual predator and rather is a retired player who has given back to the community through coaching and mentoring tens of thousands of youths. The journeyman baseball player was also with the Indians, Angels, White Sox and Royals.
The girl whose statement was read in court Thursday is expected to testify when the trial resumes Monday.