Wander Franco released, still under investigation for alleged sexual relationship with minor

Wander Franco, the Tampa Bay Rays shortstop, has been granted conditional release but remains under investigation for his alleged relationship with a 14-year-old girl. According to reports, Franco is accused of commercial sexual abuse and exploitation of a minor. The Dominican Republic judge has ordered him to leave the country, but he must return once a month to meet with authorities and pay a financial guarantee of 2 million Dominican pesos (nearly $35,000 USD).

The prosecution has submitted a document stating that the alleged victim was under Franco’s control after being kidnapped on December 9, 2022. It is alleged that Franco had sexual relations with her for two days. Prosecutors claim that Franco made payments of $1,785 to the girl’s mother for seven months and bought her a car worth $26,600 in order to maintain their relationship. Authorities have seized large sums of money and a guarantee certificate reportedly delivered by Franco during two separate raids in September.

The girl’s mother, who is facing the same charges as Franco, has been placed under house arrest until the investigation concludes. Franco, on the other hand, has been in jail since his detention in Puerto Plata on Monday. Prosecutors are seeking to keep him under house arrest and bar him from leaving the Dominican Republic.

There is currently no ruling on the case, but the judge could choose to release Franco on bond, temporarily arrest him, bar him from leaving the country, or demand that he make occasional appearances until the trial or investigation is complete. If there is a lack of evidence, the case could be dismissed.

Franco’s attorney has declined to comment on the case, but stated that his client is doing fine. The MLB placed Franco on administrative leave back in August. The outcome of the investigation will have significant implications for both Franco’s career and the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

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