An 11-year-old girl testified Tuesday in the sex abuse trial of a former Yankees outfielder that the man she knew as "Coach Rusty" started thrusting "his private part" against her during baseball clinics when she was in kindergarten.
Rosendo Torres, 65, a former pro baseball player and Massapequa resident, is on trial in Mineola on felony charges that include seven counts of sex abuse involving girls younger than 11.
The witness said the touching, which she called "bumping," escalated when she got to third grade and that's when she started thinking something was wrong.
The girl sat at first on a thick legal book and later on a pillow so all the jurors could see her on the witness stand. She spoke in a soft voice, at times tucking strands of hair behind her ears and stretching her arms during more than two hours of testimony.
The sixth-grader -- whose name Newsday is withholding because of the case's nature -- couldn't pick out Torres in court but agreed the coach wore baseball clothes at clinics held at a Plainview school from 2008 to 2012.
The witness testified that the last time she went to a clinic was in May 2012 when she saw a friend running from the coach's van looking "scared and grossed out."
Two days later, the witness -- then 9 -- spoke to police about the coach, according to testimony Tuesday from her mother.
During cross-examination, the girl told Torres' attorney, Troy Smith of White Plains, that Torres never kissed her, and never showed her his private parts or asked to see hers. The child also agreed that until she saw her friend by the coach's van, she liked training with the coach.
She also said during questioning from Smith that the coach's private part was against her when she was learning a catcher's position, that he would bump her into a proper position when she was learning to scoop ground balls, and sometimes bumped his private parts into her when he lifted and lowered her from a pullup bar.
But after more questions from Assistant District Attorney D.J. Rosenbaum, the girl agreed that the grinding the coach did against her was different from putting her in a certain baseball stance.