Wander Franco allegedly made payments to underage girl’s mother

Wander Franco has been charged by Dominican Republic prosecutors with commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering after allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a minor, according to a new report.

The money laundering charges stem from allegations that Franco made payments to the minor's mother, who also faces exploitation and money laundering charges. Associated Press reported.

Prosecutors asked a judge to order Franco to pay $86,000 bail, place him under house arrest and prevent him from leaving the country, according to the Associated Press.

Prosecutors also asked that the minor's mother be kept under house arrest and not allowed to leave the Dominican Republic.

“In a request submitted to the Permanent Monitoring Office of this jurisdiction, the Department of Health requested that a financial guarantee of P5 million be imposed on Franco as a measure of coercion, along with a ban on departure and house arrest. These measures requested by the Ministry of Civil Service are aimed at ensuring the integrity of the process.” The ministry said in a statement:.

Wander Franco of the Rays watches a baseball game on August 13, 2023. AP

Franco's immediate future depends on whether a judge in Puerto Plata province will decide by Friday whether to release the Rays shortstop on bail, temporarily arrest him, prevent him from leaving the country, or force him to visit him occasionally until games. It is scheduled to be decided, but it may be decided at that time. the completion of an investigation or trial;

A judge could dismiss the case if it is found that there is not enough evidence to proceed. The Tampa Bay Times reported.

Franco, 22, was arrested last Thursday for failing to appear on a summons and has remained in jail since Monday.

Prosecutors on Wednesday presented evidence to a judge that will help make a decision about Mr. Franco's future.

A judge will review documents and other evidence collected during the months-long investigation.

Authorities in the Dominican Republic announced on August 14 that they had opened an investigation into the infielder following social media posts accusing Franco of having an affair with a minor.

Prosecutors have not said much since the investigation began, and Franco's attorney declined to comment other than to say there was no problem with the 2023 American League All-Star, according to the Associated Press.

Wander Franco was arrested earlier this week.

The allegations first appeared on social media on August 13th.

He appeared to deny the allegations in an Instagram Live video the same day, but has not commented publicly since.

“People are saying that I'm in public with little girls, that I'm running around with minors,” Franco said in Spanish in a video on social media. According to the Tampa Bay Times. “People don't know what to do with their time. They don't know what they're saying.

“That's why I prefer to stay on my side and not get involved with anyone…because people gossip and tell terrible stories.”

Wander Franco is also under investigation by MLB. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Franco has not played since the allegations were made and has been placed on administrative leave under MLB and the Players Association's joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy.

MLB is also investigating Franco.

The Rays removed his likeness from around Tropicana Field and removed his likeness from advertisements on the Rays and broadcaster Bally Sports.

— with AP



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