A man trusted to interact with children now faces rape charges against a teenager. Police say Jay Hastings of Scranton had no prior criminal record.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees team officials said Hastings, who was the part-time mascot, the Grump, was a good employee and he represented the franchise at community events.
He was first arrested one week ago by White Haven police for attempted sexual assault of a minor. Now he faces several more serious charges in Scranton.
Hastings, 42, is accused of raping a 14-year-old boy. Scranton detectives said he admitted to the crimes and they are concerned he may have had contact with other children.
Since 1991, Hastings has worked for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre baseball team, first as a part-time parking attendant and the past few years in the public relations department where he sometimes made appearances as the team's popular mascot, the Grump.
Following his arrest, Hastings no longer works for the team.
"We pride ourselves on the integrity and fan loyalty and how well we interact with the community and it's extremely disturbing," said Scranton/Wilkes-Barre general manager Jeremy Ruby.
Detectives said Hastings raped the boy multiple times at Hastings's home on Scranton's west side starting in October, 2006 and continuing until last month.
"Neighbor of Jay's for a long time. Didn't really know him though. He was quiet. All you got out of him was a hello," said neighbor Jim Holman, adding he wouldn't have suspected Hastings. "Never, never, nope, because we didn't really see much of him."
Police said Hastings made contact with the boy through the internet site, "My Space."
They want parents in the Wilkes-Barre area to check their child's "My Space" accounts to determine if they have had any contact with Hastings.
Anyone with information is asked to call Scranton police at 570-348-4134.
Hastings's family declined to comment. His bail in Luzerne County for the attempted sexual assault was $10,000. Police said a family member concerned he might flee if he bonded out asked for a larger bail in Lackawanna County. It is set at $250,000.