On a beautiful spring afternoon that would have been idyllic for playing baseball, former Yankee Rusty Torres was holed up behind closed doors Wednesday.
Torres, 63, who involving an 8-year-old girl, would not answer the door of his North Massapequa home when a Patch reporter came to ask for comment.
But he came to the window and said, "I'm sorry, I have nothing to say at this time."
The ex-Yankee, who played parts of two seasons in the Bronx in the 1970s, was released on bail, according to the Nassau County District Attorney's office. He is charged with two counts of first degree sexual abuse.
According to court papers, . On April 30, he allegedly rubbed against her while he was aroused. On Monday, Torres allegedly rubbed against the victim again. He then exposed himself and had the victim touch him in an inappropriate manner, according to the complaint against the former ballplayer.
Read more in court papers attached to this story.
Torres, who is employed by the Town of Oyster Bay as a youth baseball instructor, was suspended without pay on Tuesday. Calls to Torres' lawyer weren't immediately returned.
Despite the shocking nature of the allegations, neighbors went to bat for the ex-ballplayer.
"He's a great guy, he always has been," said Joe Delligatti, who lives across the street from Torres. "Everyone on the street knows him. We see him on the street, we watch him on TV. He goes to Old Timers Day [at Yankee Stadium] every year. I'll doubt you'll find anyone on the block who'll say a bad thing against him."
Delligatti, who used to work in law enforcement, said he hopes the allegations turn out to be mistaken.
"I just hope it's a story that's being blown out of proportion," he said.
A 67-year-old woman who wouldn't give her name said she has no worries about her young grand daughter living on the same street as the accused sex abuser.
"He's the nicest guy," she said. "My daughter-in-law is so upset about what happened. We just can't believe he'd do that. It's just a very sad situation, I hope it's all a mistake."
The woman said her son had been talking to Torres on Monday, the same day as the most recent allegations.
"They were talking about their lawns, and maybe the economy," she said.
A 23-year-old neighbor who said he's known Torres since childhood said he got baseball tips from him.
"He used to take us to the baseball field one or two times a year," he said. "He taught us how to swing and play in the field."
The neighbor said he never felt uncomfortable around Torres. "I never saw anything that would indicate he was unbalanced," he said. "I feel bad for the families, both victim's family and his family."