Home News Rays’ Wander Franco formally charged with sexual abuse

Rays’ Wander Franco formally charged with sexual abuse

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Wander Franco has been formally charged with sexual abuse and sexual exploitation against a minor in the Dominican Republic related to an alleged relationship with a 14-year-old girl, ESPN reported Tuesday night.

Franco, 23, has been on administrative leave since the allegations came to light on social media last August when photos of the Rays infielder and the girl surfaced. 

The girl’s mother was also included in Tuesday’s indictment, according to the Associated Press.

Wander Franco was formally charged in the case. AP

Franco is alleged to have paid the woman thousands of dollars to consent to the four-month relationship, the AP reported.

He last played for the Rays on Aug. 12, and he was placed on administrative leave shortly after the disturbing accusations surfaced.

Franco was placed back on administrative leave at the start of this MLB season. 

The formal complaint was initially filed on July 10, 2023, and prosecutors had until last Friday to press charges against Franco, but Dominican Republic law allows for a judge to grant an extra 10 days for the prosecution to present their “conclusions,” according to the AP. 

Franco had been summoned to speak with Dominican authorities in December but failed to show up for a face-to-face sitdown with the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for Children and Adolescents.

Wander Franco has not played since last summer. ZUMAPRESS.com

That prompted his arrest on Jan 1. for failing to appear, though he was released a week later. 

As part of the condition of his release, he was required to make mandatory check-ins in the Dominican Republic on the 30th of every month. 

Accusations of money laundering and commercial sexual exploitation were dismissed in January when Franco was released, and he was instead accused of sexual and psychological abuse, ESPN reported.

Wander Franco was played on administrative leave last year. AP

Authorities accused Franco of “taking the minor away from her home in Puerto Plata in December 2022 and having a four-month relationship with her with consent from the girl’s mother,” the Associated Press reported in January. 

Franco, an American League All-Star last year, signed a franchise record 11-year, $182 million contract in 2021.

MLB has continued its own investigation into Franco’s alleged relationship, but ESPN reported that it will not likely be concluded until the criminal case comes to an end.

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