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Retired Yankee accused of sexual abuse

Rusty Torres during an interview about of the

Rusty Torres during an interview about of the organization Winning Beyond Winning. (Jan. 25, 2011) Credit: Robert Cassidy

A retired Yankees outfielder working as an Oyster Bay Town youth baseball coach has been arrested on charges he sexually abused an 8-year-old girl, Nassau County police said.

Rosendo "Rusty" Torres, 63, is accused of inappropriately rubbing up against the girl during training on April 30 and then exposing himself to her and encouraging her to touch him while on an Oyster Bay Town bus in Plainview, a law enforcement source said. The girl's parents reported the accusation to police, who arrested Torres Tuesday, the source said.

Torres, of North Cedar Street in Massapequa, is to be arraigned Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead on four counts of sexual abuse. Torres could not be reached for comment.

Torres, a Brooklyn native, played with the Yankees from 1971-72, then went to the Indians, Angels, White Sox and Royals.

The Yankees drafted him in the 54th round in 1966, and he went on to hit .212 with 35 home runs lifetime. With New York, he hit .231 with five homers in 89 games.

He co-founded a mentoring organization called Winning Beyond Youth 13 years ago.

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto announced that Torres was suspended without pay from his position as a youth baseball instructor.

He said any programs Torres was scheduled to conduct have been canceled.

"As always, the town stands ready to cooperate fully with any and all law enforcement agencies in this matter," Venditto said.

In Torres' neighborhood, there was "lots of disbelief" said Evelyn Galatatzis, a New York City fifth-grade teacher who lives across from him.

Torres taught her young son baseball two years ago at his baseball clinic and spoke at her school twice on career day, she said.

"I hope it was something that was misinterpreted," Galatatzis said. "He is such a well-known person in this community, and everybody loves him."

"People drive by -- he's always outside with his grandkids, working on his home -- people honk their cars, they stop to talk to him," she said.

"I've seen him working with kids. There's never been any indication to me that he would do something like this."

Frank Tepedino, co-founder of Winning Beyond Winning, did not return calls Tuesday evening.

With Ellen Yan

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