July 19, 2024

Rays’ Wander Franco charged with sexually abusing a minor: Reports


Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic formally charged Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco with sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl, according to multiple outlets.

The prosecutors presented the formal accusation against Franco on Tuesday. The spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, Nairobi Viloria, confirmed the charges to multiple outlets.

Franco, 23, has not played since Aug. 12, 2023, when allegations surfaced about an inappropriate relationship with a minor. According to prosecutors, testimony from the girl and testimony from other members of her family, Franco paid the girl’s mother thousands of dollars in cash and other gifts in exchange for the mother’s consent to engage in a sexual relationship with her daughter.

The indictment also includes the minor’s mother, according to the Associated Press.

Franco is on administrative leave through July 14 as part of a joint agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.

He spent the final weeks of the 2023 season on administrative leave, which the league uses while a player is being investigated under MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. He was reinstated to the 40-man roster after the season ended.

At the start of the 2024 season, MLB and the MLBPA agreed to place Franco back on administrative leave. The procedural move allowed the Rays to remove the shortstop, who signed a $182 million extension in 2021, from the 40-man roster.

Franco could still be suspended under MLB’s policy, with the outcome depending on the separate investigations conducted by the league and the Dominican authorities.

The presiding judge in the case would next proceed with a preliminary hearing, which in the Dominican Republic is a trial of the evidence. A judge would evaluate the evidence and determine whether the legal requirements for charges have been met. The judge may accept, reject or change the charges against both Franco and the mother of the minor.

This would be the final step before the start of a trial.

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(Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice / Getty)



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