Rays’ Wander Franco Charged With Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Money Laundering
Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic requested Tampa Bay Rays star Wander Franco be held on $86,000 bond after alleging he committed commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering, according to the Associated Press’ Martín Adames Alcántara.
Prosecutors also want Franco to be placed under house arrest and prohibited from leaving the country.
In August, Dominican authorities began investing multiple complaints against Franco stemming from an alleged relationship with a minor. MLB and the players’ union agreed to place him on administrative leave, where he remained for the duration of the 2023 season.
Dominican newspaper Listín Diario (via Kristie Ackert of the Tampa Bay Times) reported on Dec. 26 the Santo Domingo Prosecutor’s Office for Children and Adolescents had conducted two searches for Franco but were unable to locate him.
According to ESPN, prosecutor Olga Diná Llaverías requested he appear for a meeting two days later, and the 22-year-old failed to show up. He was arrested Monday after he eventually agreed to an interview lasting multiple hours.
The AP reported prosecutors provided the judge with evidence Wednesday corroborating the allegations.
“The judge has several options: release Franco on bond, temporarily arrest him, prevent him from leaving the Dominican Republic or demand that he make occasional appearances until the investigation or a trial has ended,” Alcántara wrote.
Along with the ongoing legal case against him, Franco remains under investigation by MLB. The Rays reinstated the 2023 All-Star in November but only because administrative leave doesn’t extend into the offseason.