Wander Franco, Dominican Republic

Baseball Player Wander Franco Charged With Sexual Abuse Against Minor

The alleged crime took place in the Dominican Republic and prosecutors have also charged Franco with human trafficking, which carries a maximum term of 20 years.

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco has been under investigation since last year after an accusation leveled against him for having sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl. Now, the baseball player has been formally charged with sexual abuse and sexual exploitation against a minor in the Dominican Republic, according to ESPN.

The news was given to the media outlet by Puerto Plata District Office Prosecutor Kelmin Duncan and Nairobi Viloria, spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office. An investigation was started on July 10, 2023. A year later, prosecutors have also charged Franco with human trafficking, which carries a maximum term of 20 years.

The alleged victim’s mother has also been accused of sexual exploitation and money laundering and was also charged with human trafficking as well. In an earlier report, prosecutors accused Franco of sending monthly payments of $1,700 to the mother of the girl for seven months. He also purchased a car to facilitate the relationship.

After the initial investigation, it was reported that Franco allegedly was involved in two additional relationships with other minors.

Yahoo Sports reported that Franco has been on administrative leave since August after the allegations surfaced. The last Major League Baseball game he played in was on August 12, and he recently had his leave extended through July 14. MLB allegedly has taken no action but may do so as their investigation has not ended, which could lead to Franco being suspended from the league, as well.

The 23-year-old player, who has been in the MLB for three seasons made the all-star team last year for the first time. He agreed to an 11-year, $182 million contract extension in November 2021; he was still a rookie playing just 70 games when he inked the deal. The Rays removed him from its roster before Opening Day this season.

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