Wander Franco, Dominican Republic

Tampa Bay Rays’ Wander Franco Faces Legal Issues In The Dominican Republic

Wander Franco was arrested in the Dominican Republic. Franco is under investigation for having an alleged relationship with a minor.

On January 1st, Wander Franco, shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays, was arrested in the Dominican Republic. Franco is under investigation for having an alleged relationship with a minor, according to an official notice from the Puerto Plata province prosecutor’s office, according to the Associated Press.

Franco, accompanied by two lawyers, appeared before prosecutors after missing a scheduled meeting with prosecutor Olga Diná Llaverías. The interview, lasting nearly three hours, was a crucial part of the investigation into the accusations against the 22-year-old All-Star player, according to the outlet.

Speaking anonymously, an official stated, “Llaverías had originally requested Franco appear Dec. 28, two days after prosecutors and police visited two of Franco’s properties in Baní, the player’s hometown. They did not find the player there.”

Under Dominican law, Wander Franco must be brought before a judge within 24 hours. His U.S. attorney, Jay Reisinger, declined to comment, and attempts to reach Franco’s attorneys in the Dominican Republic were unsuccessful.

The Dominican Republic’s prosecutors’ office initiated the investigation on August 14, prompted by social media posts suggesting Franco’s involvement with a minor. However, the authenticity of these reported posts has not been verified by The Associated Press.

In response to the allegations, Franco was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball (MLB) in August. This action was taken under MLB’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy with the players’ association. Despite being on administrative leave, Franco continued to receive pay and service time. MLB is conducting its own investigation, and there is currently no specified timeline for its conclusion or potential disciplinary actions, the outlet reported.

As the legal proceedings unfold, Franco’s arrest adds a layer of complexity to his status both in the Dominican Republic and within Major League Baseball. The outcome of the investigation will determine the course of action, and the implications for Franco’s professional career remain uncertain.