Rays shortstop Wander Franco formally charged with sexually abusing 14-year-old girl

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco has been formally charged with sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in the Dominican Republic.

Prosecutors filed multiple charges against Franco six months after judge’s order ordered that he be investigated Regarding sexual and mental exploitation of the girl.

Nairobi Viloria, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that prosecutors had presented final, formal charges to a judge.

The indictment also names the girl’s mother. According to prosecutors, Franco paid the girl’s mother thousands of dollars to consent to the abuse, which lasted four months. The girl’s mother is still under house arrest and is charged with money laundering.

The AP is not revealing the woman’s identity to protect her daughter’s privacy.

The most serious charges against Franco are rape, for which he could face 10 to 15 years in prison, and human trafficking, which carries a sentence of 15 to 20 years in the Dominican Republic.

Franco has remained in the Dominican Republic while authorities investigate. Since January he has been required to visit the court every month for monitoring. In April he requested that these visits be suspended, which the judge rejected.

Franco, 23, will be tried in a court in the Puerto Plata province, in the north of the country, where the incidents allegedly took place.

MLB placed Franco — who has a $2 million salary this year — on the restricted list Wednesday, and cut his pay while on administrative leave.

He was receiving 50% of his salary on that leave, a person familiar with his situation told the AP on condition of anonymity because that detail has not been publicly disclosed. That means Franco received $559,140, ​​or half of his salary, for 104 days of the 186-day season.

Franco also won’t receive service time while on the restricted list, a placement that is not considered a disciplinary action.

“We are aware of the allegations against Mr. Franco,” MLB said in a statement Wednesday. “Our investigation is still ongoing, and we will continue to monitor the matter closely as it progresses.”

Tampa Bay’s All-Star shortstop hasn’t played since Aug. 12. Franco said in a statement, $182 million, 11-year contract In November 2021.

Franco’s U.S.-based lawyer, Jay Reisinger, said on Tuesday he could not comment because Franco had not received formal notice of any charges.

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AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.

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MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb



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