A former New York Yankees outfielder who worked as a youth baseball coach was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl during baseball practice.
Rosendo "Rusty" Torres, 66, was convicted in July of five counts of first-degree sexual abuse. He was acquitted of sexually abusing another girl. Torres later tried to have the conviction overturned, claiming some jurors failed to disclose that they or family members had been crime victims or had been sexually victimized.
Nassau County Court Judge Tammy Robbins rejected the argument that jurors acted improperly.
"As a professional athlete, people looked up to this defendant and trusted him to teach America's favorite pastime to their children," District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement. "Instead, he violated that trust and committed horrible acts against a defenseless young girl."
Prosecutors said the girl was abused by Torres while he worked as a coach for the Long Island town of Oyster Bay. The abuse occurred from April 2012 to May 2012 during baseball practice sessions in Plainview, prosecutors said. A town spokesman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Robbins said Torres never apologized or acknowledged the little girl. Defense attorney Troy Smith said Torres "has maintained his innocence and still maintains his innocence to this day."
The Massapequa resident played 89 games for the Yankees in 1971-72. He also played for four other teams.
He had a .212 lifetime batting average before retiring in 1980.