Rays’ Wander Franco to face formal accusations in court in June: report

Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic plan to present formal accusations against Rays shortstop Wander Franco to the court in June, according to a published report.

The Dominican newspaper El Nuevo Diario reported late Monday that Franco, 23, will be accused of commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, stemming from an alleged relationship that started in December 2022 with a then-14-year-old girl. Franco was 21 at the time.

Previous reports by the Associated Press said Franco would be accused of sexual and psychological abuse, and abduction, and that accusations of money laundering and sexual exploitation had been dismissed in January after Franco was released from jail. He had been detained for a week after failing to respond to a summons to speak with prosecutors.

Franco, who has not played since allegations of the relationship first surfaced on social media on Aug. 13, is currently on administrative leave through June 1. That non-disciplinary status could be extended via an agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.

Franco initially was placed on the restricted list, then shifted to administrative leave in August, but that status is only applicable during the season. So, following the World Series, he was reinstated to the Rays’ 40-man roster.

He was taken off the roster and placed back on administrative leave on March 28, and the Rays are paying him his $2 million salary. He also is under investigation and subject to possible discipline by Major League Baseball, though no action is likely until the Dominican legal process plays out.

A judge in early April denied Franco’s request to suspend his monthly check-ins with the court and to return the roughly $33,000 he had to deposit to obtain conditional release after being detained, according to the Associated Press.

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