Nassau County police said Wednesday they are seeking youngsters who may have had "inappropriate contact" with former Yankees outfielder Rusty Torres, who is charged with sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl on two recent occasions.
Torres, 63, of Massapequa, is charged with four counts of sexual abuse in connection with two alleged incidents on April 30 and May 7, both in Plainview. Police and court documents said he pressed up against her, exposed himself to her and encouraged her to touch him.
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He told detectives following his arrest Tuesday that the May 7 incident took place near a school while he was conducting a program in which he helped children do fitness exercises. He said he stopped himself "before anything bad happened to her" and that he doesn't want to coach children anymore "because it's too risky," court records show. He said in a statement to a Nassau police detective, filed in court, that "I have learned my lesson and would never do anything like that again."
Police gave no further details on the alleged April 30 incident.
Torres, whose given name is Rosendo, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in First District Court in Hempstead. Judge Eric Bjorney set bail at $50,000 cash or bond and ordered Torres not to have any contact with the girl.
His attorney, Scott Carrigan of Garden City, said Torres "emphatically denies the allegations and charges."
Nassau police Det. Sgt. Robert Matedero of the Special Victims Section said Torres worked as baseball and athletics coach for the Town of Oyster Bay and also at "many public and private organizations on Long Island."
Torres is co-founder of Winning Beyond Youth, an organization that promotes fitness.
"Because of his extensive exposure to children, I believe it is important to make people aware of this incident and I encourage anyone who believes their child has had inappropriate contact with Mr. Torres to contact the Nassau County Police Department Special Victims Squad at 516-573-4022," Matedero said.
Matedero said there were no other known victims, but he added that detectives were "reaching out to administrators of other organizations and schools to make them aware of this incident . . . to try to get the word out."
Carrigan said the charges were "surprising not only to friends and family but to Mr. Torres himself." He said Torres was "obviously upset and disturbed by the allegations."
Family members, including a brother and sister, appeared in court in support of the former major leaguer but did not comment as they left.
Born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Torres attended Queens Vocational High School in Jamaica, and was taken by the Yankees in the 54th round of the 1966 draft.
Torres hit .231 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 89 career games as an outfielder for the Yankees in 1971-72. He appeared in 654 games, hitting .212 with 35 homers and 126 RBI in a nine-year career with the Yankees and other major league teams.
In 1985, Torres was sentenced to 5 years of probation on a felony drug conviction. He told Newsday in 1999 that he never tried to sell the cocaine he was found with, and that he was arrested after driving with friends and drinking beer.
With John Valenti